Polio updates: Two new cases put Pakistan total at 222

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 2:00:54 by



In 2014, Pakistan broke its own 14-year-old record when it crossed 200 polio cases. According to the World Health Organisation, the country is at a “tipping point” as the remaining endemic countries in the world—Afghanistan and Nigeria—have seen a significant decline in the number of cases this year. 

All stories related to polio, including new cases, attacks on health workers and other reports on polio can be found here. Stories can can be found on this trend page as well.

Below is an interactive Google map of all polio cases reported and attacks on polio workers in 2014. The map will be updated as new cases are reported. You can get detailed information on every polio case and attack on polio workers by clicking on the markers. Markers identify approximate location.

 

 

Two new polio cases were reported in Peshawar and Khyber Agency on Tuesday, taking the country’s total number of cases to 222 in 2014.

The National Institute of Health in Islamabad confirmed that two infants were diagnosed with wild type-1 polio.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries where polio, which can cause paralysis and death, remains endemic.

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PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite an alarming rise in the number of polio cases reported in Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took six months to appoint an official responsible for the epidemic while a funding plan for the eradication was only approved last month.

“It’s frustrating. Eradicating polio is not rocket science,” said Elias Durry, head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) polio campaign in Pakistan. “If we could have three to five months to have really good campaigns, then we could get rid of this disease,” he said. “We have been doing half-baked campaigns in high risk areas,” he said.

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With violent attacks on polio teams, 217 cases and a troubling mindset, exactly how far is Pakistan from eradicating polio on this World Polio Day? The country’s Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) estimates it is more than 500,000 children away.

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Concerns in Afghanistan are growing over new polio cases in border areas and in the displaced Pakistani population in Khost province.

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Jahanzeb Khan sits at a doctor’s clinic in Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) hospital, Shabqadar in Charsadda, collecting files from patients at the outpatient department before assigning them a waiting number.

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Polio may be a crippling disease, but it hasn’t stopped 17-year-old Abdullah Khan from being an ace student or winning a gold medal in table tennis at the fourth National Paralympics in May this year.

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Every polio team that sets foot in Metroville, SITE, knows 24-year-old Attaullah. He makes sure that he is with them every time they are in his neighbourhood for a polio drive—sometimes he helps them with directions and at others, he helps them administer the vaccine.

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met polio-affected children and and also administered polio vaccine drops.

The premier said a comprehensive communication strategy would be evolved to promote immunisation as a right of every child.

He added a focus group on polio had also been constituted to hold monthly meetings to assess the performance of the polio eradication program.

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Pakistan cricket captain Misbahul Haq Friday pledged his backing to the international bid to rid the world of polio.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) marks Friday as international polio day with Pakistan and Australia cricket teams dedicating the ongoing first Test to the fight to end the disease.

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Nadia Khan treasures two photos of her sister Sumbal: one showing her bright-eyed and smiling, the other blank-faced in death after she was gunned down by militants, a “martyr” in Pakistan’s desperate fight against polio.

It was May 2013 and Sumbal and her friend Shirafat were vaccinating children against the crippling disease at a rough mudbrick house in the village of Badaber in the country’s militant-plagued northwest.

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Peshawar News Sources -2

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