PESHAWAR: Yet another case of polio has been reported, this time from an inaccessible area of Bara, Khyber Agency. This is the 17th case recorded in Pakistan this year and the sixth case reported from Khyber, parts of which remain inaccessible to vaccination teams.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad has confirmed 15-month-old Ali Muhammad, a resident of Miran Talab, Milward, is infected with the polio virus. The report said the infected child was unable to receive a single dose of anti-polio vaccines in his short lifetime.
According to an official of the Expanded Programme on Immunization at the FATA Secretariat, Bara has been out of reach for polio vaccination teams because of increasing security issues.
“We have taken help from the political administration to vaccinate children against this crippling disease but many parts of Bara are not accessible. Polio teams were told to administer vaccines at transit points, while drops are also provided at various hospitals in the agency,” said an official.
The last two polio cases were reported from the same area in Bara on June 6, where 23-month Illyas and four-month-old Mehran were found to be infected with polio. Both children had missed a number of vaccination drives in the area.
In May, the NIH reported around 161,000 children remained unvaccinated in Bara between September 2009 and April 2012. During this time period, many residents of Khyber Agency were displaced to Peshawar as militancy and war took over their region.
The Independent Monitoring Board last year recommended a ban on travelling to Pakistan if the country failed to eradicate the virus from the country by June 2013.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.