Illiteracy and lack of awareness has cost Pakistan a lot, from loss of potential workforce to lagging behind compared to the pace the world is developing at. This can be well reflected by the fact that Pakistan is included in only three countries that still have polio, despite the progress attainted worldwide since 1988 in this particular regard. The lack of awareness and negative role of uninformed so-called religious leaders is the reason why many parents deny the practice of polio vaccine but in later life all you see in their eyes is regret.
Today, we have a similar story about a man who is successfully meeting his worldly ends but has only one regret in life: being the cause of his child’s current physical state. He, unfortunately, was convinced by these bizarre misconceptions and didn’t trust the polio vaccine.
Ghulam Ishaq owns a small shop in Karachi and is feeding his family well, but his regret takes over when he sees his four-year-old daughter Rafia’s one leg withered by polio and the other broken because of a car accident that she couldn’t avoid. Now, this is a story of only one house while it’s still unknown how many parents are guilty of the same regret whether they show it or not.
Pakistan’s negligence of importance of modern education and unwelcoming behaviour towards new knowledge accompanied with up-to-date techniques is the reason why we hold this shame of being among the three backward countries dealing with this issue. Lack of participation of religious scholars and political interest has never let this come up as an actual issue, despite its severity of nature.
It’s shameful how even the brutal killing of polio workers and widespread misconceptions couldn’t garner any attention from the potential stakeholders. But while the world has turned into a global village, we need to make an effort in an individual capacity and transfer the knowledge that we have so that we can save more children from falling prey to it.
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