PESHAWAR: Three fresh polio cases have been reported this month in Khyber Agency. Subsequently, the political administration of Khyber Agency has hired 30 local residents for special training, paying them Rs7,000 a month to immunise the maximum number of children to eradicate polio in the agency.
“June and July are peak months to spread the polio virus to other parts of the agency. We are taking all stakeholders in confidence and taking all out efforts to rein in this crippling disease,” Dr Azam Wazir, the agency surgeon told The Express Tribune.
Wazir pointed out that these recent cases surfaced in those areas of the agency where the polio campaign had not been carried out since September 2009. A special immunisation campaign will be implemented in Bara and Tirah areas in the near future through the help of Ulema, banned outfits, the military and members of the community.
He also said that the oral polio vaccine had been provided to all clinics operating in the agency and people were being told to immunise their children, apart from the anti-polio campaigns.
“By involving the community and taking help from the military, we will be able to eradicate the polio virus from Fata, in particular from Khyber Agency,” Dr Nima Abid, team leader for the Polio Project told The Express Tribune.
According to him, some parts of Khyber Agency are not easily accessible which was proving detrimental in the eradication of type-1 and type-3 wild polio virus, increasing the possibility of the virus spreading to other parts of the country.
When asked for the reason why fresh cases of the disease were being discovered, Dr Nima said that a number of children did not receive the polio vaccination and the teams assigned to administer the medication might not have been able to reach every corner of the agency.
Khyber Agency is the only part of the country having both wild polio virus type-1 and 3.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.
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