O Ponto Crítico da Pólio no Paquistão

ISLAMABAD – No início deste mês, a tragédia abateu-se mais uma vez sobre a campanha Paquistanesa de erradicação da poliomielite, com a morte de dois profissionais de saúde e de um polícia que acompanhava as equipas de vacinação. Os últimos assassinatos no Paquistão precederam a morte de nove trabalhadores na Nigéria, e sucederam-se à chacina de outros nove profissionais Paquistaneses da área da saúde em Dezembro e aos assassinatos no dia de Ano Novo de trabalhadores activos dedicados a esforços pela saúde pública. A pressão contínua sobre estes corajosos profissionais coloca um severo desafio aos organismos de saúde pública destes países e à sua ambição colectiva de abranger todas as crianças com vacinas que lhes salvem a vida.

Para o Paquistão, a ironia é que o país tem sido um caso de sucesso na erradicação da poliomielite, com o número de casos a cair de 197 em 2011 para 58 em 2012. Apesar dos desafios recentes, o Paquistão enviou equipas de vacinação de volta ao trabalho em 28 distritos, onde 12 milhões de crianças precisam de ser vacinadas. O apoio generalizado do público aos esforços na erradicação da poliomielite reflectiu-se numa resolução parlamentar. O Conselho de Ulema, um grupo de clérigos influentes, também forneceu o seu apoio.

O relatório mais recente do Conselho Independente para a Monitorização da Iniciativa Global de Erradicação da Poliomielite, publicado em Novembro de 2012, reconheceu os recentes progressos no Paquistão – em flagrante contraste com as perspectivas sombrias do relatório anterior. Mas é crítico que as próximas eleições não ponham em risco os ganhos recentes, particularmente durante a actual estação, menos propícia à transmissão, sendo por isso a melhor oportunidade para impedir a progressão da doença. Todas as facções políticas devem manter-se comprometidas no caminho da erradicação se pretenderem que ela seja bem-sucedida.

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