Saturday, November 23, 2019
Pakistan witnesses 102 polio cases in 2019
A day after five cases in Sindh and KP, two more cases emerge in Upper and Lower Kohistan
The total number of polio cases across the country has touched 102, including nine vaccine-derived cases after two cases were reported in Upper and Lower Kohistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In spite of tall claims by the government and several anti-polio drives, there has been no let-up in the polio cases across the country, as only yesterday five cases were reported in Sindh and KP. These two provinces are among the worst-affected regions, witnessing a spike over the recent months.
Poliovirus was found in the sample of a girl child in Tehsil Pattan of Kohistan. Her samples were sent to the national institute of health in Islamabad on October 27. Similarly, the same virus was found in a five-year-old girl child in Tehsil Dasu of Upper Kohistan.
FIVE CASES IN SINDH AND KP:
On Friday, three cases were recorded in Sindh and two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The first case was a 36-month-old female from Sakran in Shaheed Benazirabad, Sindh. She had received three doses of routine immunization and seven doses of supplementary immunization.
The second case was a 12-year-old male from Karachi’s Keamari Town. He had received three doses of routine immunization and seven doses of supplementary immunization. The third case was a three-month-old female from Lakki Marwat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She had received no polio drops.
The fourth case was a 30-month-old female from Kotri in Jamshoro, Sindh. It is not clear whether she received any dose of the polio vaccine. The fifth case was a 10-month-male from Wazir in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. His immunization record was incomplete.
According to an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio: “Lakki Marwat and Bannu have become high-risk districts for polio cases in 2019, as 15 and 24 polio cases were reported in both the districts, respectively. Polio cases from Lower and Upper Kohistan have been reported for the first time this year.”
This week, the Gates Foundation pledged $1.08 billion and, along with other development partner organizations and governments, the meeting got total pledges worth $2.6bn, including $160 million announced by Dr. Mirza on behalf of Pakistan to eradicate polio in the world.
Polio remains endemic only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The number of wild poliovirus cases stood at 77 in Pakistan and at 19 in Afghanistan as of Oct 29 this year. The corresponding figures during the same period last year were six for Pakistan and 19 for Afghanistan. However, the authorities show resolve, again vowing to enhance their efforts.
“We have conveyed to the international donors that we are developing consensus among all provinces to enhance our vaccination campaign with a new strategy. We need to give new confidence to the entire team as we had controlled poliovirus in the past and we can do it again.”