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Alma Sokolovic-Rasmussen

Is the "big switch" the final piece in the polio jigsaw?

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Reuters, 28 April (Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.):

Last week’s launch of the global polio eradication initiative’s “big switch” has garnered wide interest among the public and the media, and rightly so. According to the World Health Organization the simultaneous switch from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccine is the largest vaccine rollout in history with 155 countries involved. To complete the goal of ridding the world of polio this should be one of the final pieces in the jigsaw.

However, three days after the initiative was launched a less well reported event occurred in Pakistan that serves as a stark reminder of the challenges still remaining. The news of seven policemen being attacked and killed while protecting polio vaccinators on their rounds in Karachi is distressing, but sadly not surprising.

Violent, often fatal, attacks in general, as well as specific attacks on polio workers and their security guards, have been a growing phenomenon and challenge to polio eradication.

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