Momento crítico de la polio en Pakistán

ISLAMABAD – A principios de este mes, la campaña de erradicación de la polio en Pakistán volvió a sufrir una tragedia. Dos trabajadores de los equipos de vacunación y un policía que los escoltaba fueron asesinados. Estos nuevos asesinatos en Pakistán preceden a los de nueve trabajadores en Nigeria y suceden después de la muerte de otros nueve trabajadores pakistaníes del sector salud en diciembre y de los asesinatos cometidos en año nuevo contra trabajadores del sector del desarrollo asociados con los esfuerzos de salud pública.

Los ataques continuos contra estos valientes trabajadores están representando un serio desafío a las comunidades de salud pública de esos países y a su ambición colectiva de ofrecer a todos los niños vacunas que pueden salvar sus vidas.

Para Pakistán la ironía es que el país ha sido un ejemplo de éxito en los esfuerzos de erradicación de la polio, pues el número de casos cayó de 197, en 2011 a 58, en 2012. Pese a los desafíos recientes, las autoridades pakistaníes enviaron de nuevo a los encargados de aplicar las vacunas a 28 distritos, donde era necesario vacunar a 12 millones de niños. El apoyo público generalizado a los esfuerzos de erradicación de la enfermedad se ve reflejado en una resolución del parlamento. El Consejo de los Ulemas, grupo influyente de clérigos, también ha dado su respaldo.

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