Polio in Pakistan: Social constraints and travel implications

Travel Med Infect Dis. 2015 Sep-Oct;13(5):360-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Jul 16.


The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in Pakistan has faced failure despite being implemented successfully. Polio cases were successfully reduced by 99% until 2005. However, thereafter, new polio cases were registered, which continue to rise annually. This repeat polio outbreak has placed the country on watch by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to travelers, and Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. The present report reviews the published literature for determining the social constraints to the polio eradication initiative in Pakistan. Religion, politics, awareness, insecurity, inequity, governance, and social responsibility have been identified as key social factors in the failure of any vaccination campaign. Possible interventions have been proposed, which include effectively using modern mass media and educating vaccinators on the social and cultural background of the target community.

Keywords: Pakistan; Polio; Socioeconomic factors; Travel.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Islam
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis* / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis* / prevention & control
  • Poliomyelitis* / transmission
  • Politics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Travel*