Pakistan, Afghanistan Form Joint Action Plan Against Polio

Pakistan and Afghanistan, “the world’s two worst polio-affected countries,” have “decided to form a joint block under the World Health Organization to eradicate the infectious disease — which causes motor paralysis and the atrophy of skeletal muscles, often resulting in permanent physical disability or deformity — by December 2012,” Inter Press Service reports. “The decision was made last year by the Technical Advisory Board (TAG), which is responsible for developing new strategies to wipe out the disease globally,” the news service notes.

“Under the new joint action plan, [WHO’s medical officer Jawad Khanhe] said, Pakistan and Afghanistan will launch a program through which children traveling with their mothers between the two countries will be vaccinated,” noting “an estimated 10,000 children under five years of age cross the border every day, often unimmunized,” IPS writes. “Up until now, the majority of children crossing the border into and out of Pakistan were immunized, but the new campaign series will take place simultaneously in both countries to ensure that every child is immunized on either side of the border, according to Khan,” the news service adds (2/13).

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