HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The international organization has considered the South Asian country to be polio endemic
  • Travel curbs to Pakistan has been extended for at least three months by the WHO
  • Besides Pakistan, WHO has also addressed Afghanistan’s failure to eradicate the virus completely

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its dictates temporarily barring travel to Pakistan, attributing it as a polio-endemic country. The organization has extended travel restrictions to Pakistan for at least another three months, ahead of the fact that the country got categorized as one of the last polio-endemic countries.

A risk of wild poliovirus (WPV1), has been detected by the 30th Polio IHR Emergency Committee, who have come to their proposition after conducting surveillance. The WHO has stated, “The key challenge in Pakistan remains the ‘persistently missed children’ in the core reservoirs regarding which progress is being made through innovative approaches such as deploying evening vaccination teams, health camps, tracking of missed and not available children after the SIA is completed, dealing with refusals before the campaign starts and using pro-vaccination influencers.”

Besides Pakistan, Afghanistan has been considered to be unsafe by the WHO as the country could not accomplish a complete eradication of polio. According to the international organization, this holds the risk of spreading the virus on a global scale. The thirtieth meet of the Emergency Committee, which comes under the International Health Regulations (2005), was held on November 3, via video conference. The meeting which focussed on the international surge of the poliovirus was convened by the WHO director. The committee took cognizance of the situation of countries like Afghanistan, China, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, and Ukraine.

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