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Reform Necessary To Overcome Challenges To Polio Eradication Efforts In Pakistan

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Sania Nishtar, founder of Heartfile and the recently launched Sania Nishtar Health Fund, writes that “[a]fter 23 years of commencing the World Health Organization-led Global Polio Eradication Initiative, billions of dollars in investment, mobilization of 20 million health workers and a population wide intervention in 125 countries, vaccinating more than two billion children, there are only four countries in the world which continue to harbor the disease,” and Pakistan is “a living threat to the global goal of eradicating a disease for the second time from the face of this planet.”

Nishtar highlights challenges to polio eradication efforts in Pakistan and concludes, “Pakistan needs to put its entire organizational shoulder to the polio eradication wheel on an emergency basis and get actors involved that can deliver in emergencies, to tackle this problem with institutionalization of accountability as a key element. … While at it, we must also look inwards to put in place critically needed health system reforms, which will be vital for meeting any development target in Pakistan’s milieu where social divides are widening at an alarming pace” (11/5).

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