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Polio unchecked on Pak-Afghan border

UN Program: Polio Thriving on ‘Unchecked’ Pak-Afghan Border

KABUL – The United Nations-backed Global Polio Eradication Initiative attributed a recent resurgence of the potentially deadly disease in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, home to the one of the debilitating virus’ last remaining bastions in the world, to the “unchecked” flow of people across their mutual border, the Guardian reported Wednesday.
Analysts have also attributed the ongoing presence of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan to insecurity and a ban on immunizations imposed by the Taliban factions in both countries.
Since 1989, there has been a 99.9% decrease in wild polio-virus cases across the globe.
Along with Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries in the world where the highly infectious and potentially lethal polio disease remains endemic or “usually present,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Guardian reported: “The unmonitored movement of people across the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan threatens efforts to eradicate polio from the two countries, as the year’s first cases of the virus are recorded in the volatile region.”
Aziz Memon, the national chair of the Pakistan Polio Plus Committee, deemed “conflict, political insecurity, and remoteness of areas, combined with a highly mobile population and logistical challenges” as “significant obstacles” to Islamabad’s efforts to eradicate the disease.
“Cross-border vaccination is critical to our program in the fight against polio. The mass influx of population has caused many to fall through the cracks and families with children with low routine and no supplementary immunization are the real challenge to the program,” he told the Guardian.
Breitbart News found that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bill recently signed into law by President Donald Trump will devote millions in American taxpayer funds for “border security programs” as well as money for “cross border stabilization” between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan has reportedly argued that its US-assisted efforts to erect a fence along its border with Afghanistan will not only keep Afghan jihadis out of its territory, it will also help eradicate polio once and for all.
(Sahar News)

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