Pakistan launches a new anti-polio campaign after the discovery of a third case

On Monday, Pakistan launched a new anti-polio campaign, more than a week after officials discovered the country’s third case of the year in the country’s northwestern border region with Afghanistan.

The campaign, which will be the third this year, will run five days and attempt to immunise 40 million children under the age of five across the country.

Pakistan has already conducted two anti-polio campaigns this year, in January and March, after uncovering only one incidence of the disease last year, raising optimism that the country was on the verge of eradicating the disease. The first case of the year was filed in April.

In a statement, Dr. Shahbaz Baig, the country’s polio programme spokesperson, urged parents to work with polio workers on the door-to-door campaign.

Anti-polio campaigns in Pakistan are sometimes marred by violence. Islamic terrorists frequently attack polio squads and the officers assigned to defend them, erroneously accusing them of a Western plot to sterilise children.

During the March campaign, assailants shot and killed a female polio worker as she returned home after a day of vaccines in northwestern Pakistan. In January, attackers shot and killed a police officer in the country’s northwest who was providing security for polio vaccine workers.

Polio may cause severe paralysis in children, and Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only nations in the world still striving to eradicate it.