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Officials say Pakistan on track to eradicate polio in 2019

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani officials say the country is on track to eradicate polio in 2019 despite Taliban attacks and superstition that has spurred many parents in the region bordering Afghanistan to refuse to vaccinate their children.

Dr. Naima Abid said authorities told the visiting head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, that Islamabad is taking measures to make Pakistan polio-free by the end of 2019.

The WHO chief visited Islamabad Tuesday and met with Prime Minister Imran Khan. He visited Kabul before coming to Pakistan.

In 2018, Pakistan reported only eight new polio cases, compared to 306 in 2014. The WHO often helps Islamabad launch antipolio campaigns.

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Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio is still endemic.

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