Polio Headlines 21 July, 2021

 
Polio, peace and politics are now at an inflection point. Where do we go from here?
 
Reviewing the numbers above, we see that there have been no new polio cases in the world since January of this year. The two cases of Type1 which occurred in January were in a very small and specific border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan which is under control of the Afghan rebel group, the Taliban. This group has used polio immunization as a political tool to convince local residents that the polio vaccine was an attempt by the West to sterilize their children.To date, more than 100 polio workers, mostly young women, have been killed and several clinics have been burned.
 
Most of this violence has occurred on the Pakistan side of the border where the Taliban operates largely unchallenged and for a while the Pakistani government halted the vaccination effort. It has since been restarted thanks to some very brave Pakistani women. In March when the US government began negotiating a pull-out of troops, the violence suddenly stopped and, for now at least, vaccination continues.
 
The politics of the region are complicated and involve India as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban.In the end, however, the negotiators all have something in common. They all have children they love. We hope that will carry the day and that the last polio stronghold ended in January.