ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says Fb will assist the nation in its battle towards polio after authorities blamed anti-vaccine content material posted final yr on the social community website for a leap within the variety of circumstances.
Pakistan is one among solely three international locations the place polio has not been eradicated, however a years-long effort started to point out fruit with a serious drop in circumstances from 2016.
By 2018 simply 12 circumstances had been recorded, however to the dismay of Pakistani authorities and the World Well being Organisation, that quantity soared to 136 final yr.
Pakistani officers rapidly tied the surge to a slew of faux information reviews and movies claiming many kids had been killed by the vaccine that garnered hundreds of views and shares on social media.
They referred to as on Fb do extra to take away dangerous anti-vaccine content material from the location, saying it was jeopardising eradication initiatives and placing the lives of polio employees in danger.
Well being authorities later stated Fb had eliminated dozens such movies.
This week a delegation from the corporate visited Islamabad and reaffirmed their dedication to the marketing campaign, a Pakistani authorities assertion stated.
“We stand behind the nationwide and international efforts to create a polio-free world and can proceed to assist these efforts,” Rafael Frankel, a Fb regional director, was quoted as saying in a press release launched by Pakistan’s ministry of well being.
Dr Zafar Mirza, a Particular Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on well being, highlighted the significance of speaking right well being info on-line and careworn “the necessity to counter dangerous content material on social media”.
Fb didn’t instantly reply to AFP’s request for remark.
Vaccination campaigns have confronted cussed resistance for years in Pakistan, with many refusing to have their kids inoculated due to misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Islamist opposition to all types of inoculation grew after the CIA organised a pretend vaccination drive to assist monitor down Al Qaeda’s former chief Osama Bin Laden within the Pakistani metropolis of Abbottabad.
As Pakistan tries to succeed in its objective of eliminating polio, the rising international motion towards vaccinations – fuelled by social media – has offered a brand new problem.
Afghanistan and Nigeria are the 2 different international locations the place the illness has not been solely eradicated, though the latter is predicted to be declared polio-free later this yr. – AFP