Polio and resignation

No remorse, no repentance

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Focal person for polio Babar bin Atta on Friday resigned from his position after serving there for nearly a year. He should have done this long time ago for failing to do his job. Instead of looking into the problem and rectifying it he rather was busy papering it over. He also had the thick skin who could tolerate the criticism that was coming his way with ever rising number of polio cases in all four corners of the country. The government too seemed little bothered all this while.

Now that finally the resignation has come, it does not say anything with regard to his failure. It rather says that the resignation came because of personal reasons. The reason might be a genuine one and this paper respects Atta’s wishes to spend time with his ailing parents. But looking at the history of resignations in this country, one tends to club this one as well with those that are coerced out of non-performing or underperforming individuals. There is hardly any instance of accepting responsibility for any failure.

Atta too, without going into the awful statistics, said he has done his job and now the country was at a stage where they could completely eliminate the deadly virus from the country. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The vaccination drives over the last one year or so were the worst organized ones that we have seen in the recent years. Media regularly reported that 100 per cent immunization drives could not be completed however on papers the government was able to show amazing results out of their campaigns. There was little innovation on display when it came to convincing the reluctant parents in conservative communities and allaying their fears about the polio drops.

The Peshawar espisode where students were taught to feign adverse reaction en masse was the most bizarre one that could neither be anticipated nor handled immaculately afterwards.

At places parents thought that administering drops only once or twice were sufficient to ensure their child was out of danger which sadly was not the case. In one case an affected child was administered polio drops only once whereas in another case the parents of the child claimed to have administered the drops thrice but the health card did not corroborate the parents’ claim, unfortunately. Both the children were later diagnosed with polio.

Polio that was almost entirely under control until a few years ago has gone berserk. As many as 70 children or thereabouts are already afflicted with the deadly virus and the number is likely to go further. And the government does not have any plan to put a stop to this. It is as clueless as ever. It seems to neither have the will nor the capacity nor resources to put an end to this shame.