Polio Cases Blamed on Unmonitored Border Crossings Between Pakistan and Afghanistan

A vaccination drive in Pakistan. Unchecked border crossings are blamed for new cases. (Photograph: Khaula Jamil/theguardian.com)

Polio remains endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative believes people traveling through unchecked crossings is one of the main causes of the spread of the disease. The group has made strides with vaccination, with the number of polio cases declining since 2015.

The first polio cases of the year were reported last month in regions of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan and in Punjab province. Cases have been consistently reported along the 2.430 km border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including main towns and remote villages.

Government officials in Pakistan recently increased the number of manned permanent transit points, where children can be vaccinates, between the two countries. Difficult terrain and vaccine storage issues challenge vaccination efforts.

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