PESHAWAR: Two new polio cases surfaced in Mardan district and Bara sub-division, Khyber Agency, bringing the total number of cases across the country in 2013 to nine.
This case reported in Bara is the second to surface in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) this year, and the case in Mardan the fourth for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Earlier, a polio case was reported in North Waziristan following the Taliban ban on polio vaccinations. Last year, 58 cases were reported across the country, including 27 in K-P.
The National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad confirmed eight-month-old Noman, a resident of Sugar Cane Village, Shiekh Yousaf, Mardan, had the type-1 polio virus. Noman’s stool sample was collected on April 22 and an NIH report revealed the infant was not administered anti-polio vaccinations because his parents considered it ‘against the teachings of Islam.’
“Noman had not been immunised against any diseases because when his elder brother received the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis, he got a fever. Fearing the same would happen to Noman, the parents did not administer the BCG vaccine or the polio drops to him,” said an Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) official wishing anonymity.
The second case was detected in 10-month-old Fawad, a resident of Sama Garghi village in Milawart, Bara. Fawad was only administered one vaccination dose of the recommended five.
The NIH reported also stated around 160,000 remained unvaccinated in Bara from September 2009 to April 2012 when IDPs flocked to Peshawar for shelter.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2013.