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Pakistan Launches New Polio-Vaccination Drive

A health worker administers the polio vaccine to a child in Peshawar in December,

Pakistan has launched a new nationwide polio-vaccination campaign as part of the government's pledge to eradicate the disease in the country by the end of 2019.

Health Ministry spokesman Rana Safdar said on January 21 that the latest drive would target more than 39 million children under the age of 5 and involves more than 260,000 health workers.

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

In 2018, only a handful of new polio cases were reported in Pakistan, compared to more than 300 in 2014.

In the past, militants in Pakistan have targeted health workers because of a mistaken belief that the vaccine was aimed at making Muslim children sterile.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa