Fake finger marking becomes a big challenge in polio eradication in KPK
The polio cases in KPK have crossed 50 recently.
Fake finger marking across the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly Shangla district, is haltering the polio drive in the region. As parents refuse the vaccination, believing the hoaxes, children are most vulnerable to the crippling disease that can possibly leave them handicapped for the entire life.
The district became a point of concern for the polio drive when a polio case was reported from Kamach, Shangla. He was not vaccinated during the drive but was marked. It must be kept under consideration that fingers of children are marked as a standard marker that the child has been vaccinated.
The numbers growing out of control:
Despite government’s tireless efforts to eradicate polio, the program has yielded little to no results in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa so far. Due to the low literacy rate and the role of clergy, the resistance against the vaccine has grown even stronger over time.
According to available records, there was only one polio case in KP in 2017. The number increased to eight in 2018, while now, in 2019 so far, they have even surpassed 50. The biggest reason of the soaring cases is the blatant refusal to take the vaccination. The locals, under the influence of hoaxes and conspiracy theories, believe the vaccination to be ‘un-Islamic’.
They clerics preach that polio vaccination is actually Western propaganda which has been planted to make Muslims infertile and reduce their population. Speaking on the vaccination, a religious cleric, Tahir Altaf, commented:
“There are numerous deadly diseases prevailing in Pakistan, but the government doesn’t give attention to them, and only focuses on polio.”
Faisal Khan, who is performing his dusty as a vaccinator, said that even family of a government officer refused to take vaccinations in the last two campaigns. It shows that the hyper-religious propaganda is not only limited to the uneducated lot.
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