Fight Against Polio: More than 1,200 motorbikes distributed among polio workers across Pakistan

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries still fighting with the disease. 

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The Pakistan Polio Eradication Program (PPEP) has distributed 1,254 motorbikes among polio workers this week to facilitate access to children in remote areas. Pakistan resumed the anti-polio drive-in July after a three months long halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Around 42 motorbikes were handed over to the vaccinators in Islamabad, 376 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 662 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 164 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 10 bikes were given to the Federal Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).

In an official statement, The PPEP said vaccinators are the backbone of the anti-polio drive, hence, their comfort, mobility, and safety are a preference.

The statement further said that the mobility of the vaccinators is seen as the main hindrance that affects their efficiency to complete their tasks. Therefore, motorbikes have been distributed among them to improve their performance and address the issue of mobility.

Pakistan and challenges

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries still fighting the disease. With limited resources, another challenge that Pakistan’s anti-polio drive has to face is the Islamic hardliners’ stance on it.

Last year, religious extremists spread rumors about children falling sick due to the vaccine in the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It triggered a backlash, with mobs burning down a village health center. Several vehicles were pelted with stones while two polio health workers were shot dead.

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