Pakistani doctor included in Time's 100 influential people in health

Dr Shahzad Baig is national coordinator of Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme

Asif Bashir Chaudhary
Dr Shahzad Baig. — Time Magazine

Dr Shahzad Baig, the national coordinator of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme, has been included in the list of 100 world leaders in the field of health by Time magazine, bringing an honour for the healthcare community in he South Asian nation.

Featured in the 'TIME100 HEALTH' as one of the most influential people in the field, Dr Baig gets much-needed recognition for his leadership and efforts to end polio in the country, making the honour a significant achievement for Pakistan at the global level.

Before arriving in Pakistan to lead anti-polio efforts, he served in Nigeria as technical adviser for the country's polio eradication initiative, which was a success, as the African nation was declared polio-free in 2020. Under his leadership, Time maintains, Pakistan will be the next polio-free nation.

Dr Shahzad Baig administers polio vaccination in the southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. — X/@CoordinatorNeoc

Dr Baig's profile on Time has been penned by Jeffrey Kluger, the editor at large at the American magazine, known for his coverage of space, science and climate.

"In 2019, polio disabled or killed 147 people in Pakistan; since Baig assumed the position, in 2021, case counts have plummeted, with only six children stricken in 2023. The goal is to bring that number to zero by 2026," Kluger wrote, praising the Pakistani medic.

Baig, according to Kluger, has remained at the forefront of ending polio in Pakistan in the context of extremists attacking polio workers and propagating against polio vaccination.

"Under his leadership, the government has deployed 400,000 vaccinators and 80,000 security personnel to inoculate more than 90 million children this year alone, with another 24 million to come in a springtime vaccination drive," the Time editor at large added.

"His inclusion in this esteemed list is a testament to his dedication to the mission of Polio eradication from Pakistan!" stated the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme on its Instagram profile.