Saturday, November 23, 2019
A video of Pakistani students raising ‘azadi’ slogans has gone viral. The same chant was used three years ago by former JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar.
Similar protest held last year
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.”
PUNJAB CAPITAL’S AIR QUALITY HITS 335, LEAVING RESIDENTS SCRAMBLING TO OVERCOME THE HAZARDOUS SMOG
Lahore, the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province, on Thursday once more topped global rankings for the city with the worst air quality, with monitors showing an average ‘hazardous’ Air Quality Index of 335.
Residents of the capital of Pakistan’s most populous province woke up again to the sight of a haze covering their city, with residents complaining of sore throats, itchy eyes and other ailments linked to inhaling toxic material through the smog that has increasingly become a regular fixture.
While the average AQI for the entire city stood at 335 around noon, parts of the city with individual air quality monitors showed the figure rising as high as 763, which posits a PM2.5 of nearly 900 ug/m3—the equivalent of smoking nearly 40 cigarettes.
While smog is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan, it has taken on greater urgency this year amid ever-worsening air quality that is particularly unhealthy for children, the elderly and the infirm. In 2007, the Lahore High Court ordered authorities to prepare a smog response action plan to overcome the health crisis. The Punjab Environment Protection Council, however, adopted a plan that utilized a modified AQI classification system, which claims a PM2.5 rating of 60 is ‘satisfactory’ even though the U.S. AQI adopted by much of the world declares it ‘unhealthy.’
PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter that has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, so small that they can only be detected with an electron microscope. These fine particles, which can come from various sources including power plants, motor vehicle emissions, and agricultural burning, last longer in the air than heavier particles. This increases chances of them being inhaled by humans and animals, where they can bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs. The air pollution worsens during winter, emerging as smog, due to temperature inversion, which produces a layer of warm air that traps air pollutants.
Experts and observers have urged the government to adopt a more robust plan to tackle smog, including shutting down schools when the smog levels reach hazardous levels to prevent children from suffering the worst effects.
It is advised that so long as smog persists, the elderly, children and the infirm should stay indoors with the windows closed. Doctors also say people who feel the affects of smog should drink plenty of water, rinse out their eyes at least once an hour, and wear face masks if they have to travel outside.