Polio: Six new cases reported across the country

Sunday, December 7th, 2014 1:46:05 by



ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR: As the government prepares to launch its last nationwide anti-polio drive for 2014, six new cases of polio surfaced in three different areas of the country on Saturday, taking the total tally of polio cases reported this year to 276.

The National Institute of Health Islamabad (NIH) confirmed that four of the new cases were reported from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), one from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and one from Balochistan.

The first two of the polio victims – a girl and boy, both eleven months old – are from Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency. The third case – a one-year-old old boy – is from Wana tehsil of South Waziristan Agency. The fourth case is a 17-month-old female child from Baka Khel area of Frontier Region Bannu.

The fifth case is that of an 18-month-old male child from Nowshera in K-P while the sixth case was an an 18-month-old boy from the Killa Abdullah area of Chaman, Balochistan.

All the infected children had not received even a single dose of the polio vaccine.

An analysis of the 276 children, stricken by this crippling disease this year, reveals that 84% of them are under the age of two years and 84% of them received less than three polio doses.

With these new cases, the total number of polio cases – reported from Fata during 2014 – reaches 169. The figure for K-P jumps to 60 and cases in Balochistan now number 17. A total of 27 polio cases have been reported from Sindh – mostly from Karachi – while only three cases have been reported from Punjab.

Security of anti-polio vaccination teams

The ministry of interior on Saturday issued notifications to all the law enforcement agencies to provide foolproof security to all the polio teams during 2014’s last nation-wide anti-polio drive.

The ministry has issued notifications to all the law enforcement agencies in response to the letter written by the Ministry of National Health Services in the aftermath of attacks on polio teams in Quetta, said Expanded Programme on Immunisation’s (EPI) National Manager Dr Rana Safdar.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Safdar said it is going to be the fourth and last anti-polio drive for the year 2014, starting from December 8 to target 34 million children under the age of five years. “All-out efforts are under way to address the challenges faced earlier during the anti-polio drives,’ he added.

This year, however, the ongoing military operation Zarb-e Azb in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) has provided an opportunity to access 300,000 children in the area, who remain deprived of polio vaccine since June 2012, he said. “A total of 1.1 million doses of polio vaccines were administrated to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of the NWA at various transit points,” he said.

“A special low transmission plan for Polio Eradication is recently finalised in collaboration with provincial governments and international partners and we will venture into the first national campaign of the low season with full force,” said State Minister for Health Saira Afzal Tarar.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2014.



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