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Polio vaccination in Pakistan is facing a number of social and political challenges. The conservative sections of the society are not ready to accept it for the so-called religious reasons. The public perception regarding the government health facilities is so bad that many people avoid vaccinations for quality issues. In the past few months, the extremist elements have targeted the vaccination teams several times, and people fear to take their children for vaccination.
According to the government statistics, there are less than two thousand volunteers and staff members available to 3.2 million patients in the country, and many people in the rural areas lack access to vaccination facilities. There are so many polio cases in the country that the United Nations has declared Pakistan as one of the four countries that are seriously polio-hit. This declaration is tarnishing the image of the country.
Foreign countries are reluctant to welcome Pakistanis. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and tourism suffer. The government should take practical steps and introduce legal reforms to overcome the challenges related to polio vaccination in the country. It should hold the parents liable if the children are not vaccinated, and make sure that every patient in the country has access to the vaccination.
Strict measures should be taken to curb corruption and mismanagement of funds in this sector. Media should also play its due role in changing the public opinion regarding the polio vaccination thus making Pakistan a polio-free nation.