VEHARI: Health officials in the district have confirmed another polio case in one-year-old Shoaib on Tuesday.
According to health officials, Mailsi village Basti Shaamlaat resident Muhammad Aslam’s son Shoaib recently developed a fever and was unable to walk. “My son is only a year old but he was crawling and walking but recently he couldn’t even move his legs. When I took him to the hospital they began testing for polio,” he told The Express Tribune.
Aslam told doctor’s that Shoaib had been developing symptoms for the past 20 days. Vehari DHQ hospital doctors confirmed that Shoaib was suffering from polio. “I don’t understand how this could happen because I had my son vaccinated soon after his birth. The vaccine must have been faulty because I got all the drops and shots,” he added.
Several villagers protested against health authorities, saying that whenever a polio case cropped up health officials immediately ordered more polio vaccinations in the area. “Why don’t they realise it sooner and what is wrong with the vaccines that people who have been immunised are still developing symptoms?” resident Rukhsana said. Health officials have already announced a new polio drive in the area from January 2 and said they would provide vaccination to more than 5,000 children in the area. Talking to The Express Tribune, EDO (Health) Dr Afzal Saaqib said that health authorities had been working round the clock to eradicate the polio virus in Punjab. “We have been doing our best but the real challenge is the literacy rate in this area. People are illiterate and they think there is some western conspiracy behind the vaccines,” he added.
The EDO said that the Punjab government had given special instructions to eradicate the polio virus from Punjab on top priority. “This is the fourth Vehari polio case this year,” he said. The last case involved an 8-year-old girl Sana from Karampur village. Southern Punjab has been facing a rise of polio cases and health officials earlier found traces of the polio virus in sewage samples. Several samples taken by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Department have confirmed reports of the polio virus in several sewer water samples taken from different parts of the district. “This may mean more polio cases in the province,” said a Health Department official Razia Shah.
Local citizens fear that the water supply lines could easily be mixed with sewerage pipe lines in most cities of the province.
Water and Sanitation Authority (Wasa) management authorities said that they had already been working to repair sewerage and water supply lines in the area.
An anti-polio campaign lead by Dr Nima Abid confirmed that the traces of the polio virus in sewerage water could severely compromise the organization’s efforts.
“This is a very dangerous situation but we have already contacted Wasa and luckily the problem was brought to our attention in time,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2011.