Eradicating Polio in Pakistan

Eradicating Polio in Pakistan has proven a difficult challenge. But why?Eradicating Polio in Pakistan

In a recent episode of my podcast, Causes or Cures, I chatted with Dr. Anushka Ataullahjan about her research on the polio eradication efforts in Pakistan. While we got rid of wild polio in the US, wild polio is still endemic in two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And while there is a lot of focus on vaccine intent and hesitancy in the US in the aftermath of the new COVID-19 vaccines, I think it’s important to widen our perspective and hear about what is going on in other countries too. The US can be very “myopic” in how we view public health isseus, even though we live in a hyper-connected world, such that what happens in one country certainly has the power to impact one that is far away.

Dr. Ataullahjan will discuss different programs and initiatives they’ve tried over the years for eradicating polio in Pakistan and the different barriers they’ve met, including threats of insecurity, people’s beliefs and concerns, and global events. She’ll discuss how the US CIA’s 2011 fake vaccine

campaign in Pakistan contributed to vaccine mistrust. (Yes, our government did run a fake vaccination campaign to gain intel on Osama Bin Laden, and by doing so, we damaged polio vaccination efforts, and lots of kids paid for it.) She also will offer insight and recommendations for the future.

Dr. Ataullahjan is a professor, poet and researcher who studies public health issues as they relate to Pakistan, including this study on polio eradication efforts published in Expert Review of Vaccines. You can follow her on Twitter here.

To listen to the podcast on Eradicating Polio in Pakistan, please click here

In addition, I hope you check out some of the other podcast episodes, including:

Searching for the Cause of Havana Syndrome

Please feel free to read my Health Communications section on the blog too. You might find some of them amusing?

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