Nepal is still at risk of polio: Stakeholders

Polio immunisation
Representational image: Polio immunisation

Chitwan, October 24

Stakeholders have warned of the possible risk of polio in Nepal, stressing the need for all to come together to eliminate the viral disease.

Neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan are yet to be free of the disease, thus increasing risks in Nepal, they reasoned.

During an event organised in Chitwan on Sunday, on the occasion of World Polio Day, they stated the failure of neighbouring countries to get rid of the disease could have much impact on the country.

Rabindra Kumar Piya, Rotary District 3292 former governor, said the club was working to eradicate the disease from the country. An advisor of the Polio Department at the Rotary Club, Sharad Gopal Nyachhyo said the club started a campaign to eliminate polio in 1953.

Prior to the event, a rally was organised in a bid to create awareness against the disease.

No new cases of polio have been found in Nepal since 2010, according to available data. Launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the polio eradication campaign aimed to rid the world of the virus by 2000.

But 33 years on, there are still isolated pockets of the disease. And unless every last case is removed, there will always be a chance that the infection will come back.

In Nepal, indigenous polio was eliminated in 2000 after the country responded to WHO’s eradication goal by adding polio to its successful campaign of vaccination against other diseases. However, there were still polio cases in Nepal brought over the border from India.

The last case of polio was detected in the Rautahat district in 2010, and Nepal was finally declared polio-free four years later.

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