DI Khan administration wants collective anti-polio efforts

Published: August 8, 2019


D I KHAN: The district administration in Dera Ismail (DI) Khan has called for adopting collective efforts to help eradicate polio from society. The comments come a day after five polio cases were confirmed in the province.

This was stated by the DI Khan Commissioner Javed Khan Marwat during a prize distribution ceremony at the Jirga Hall in the commissioner’s office on Wednesday.

The ceremony was held to appreciate the efforts made by the district administration staff and officers of the district health department and other related organizations during the last campaign against polio.

Addressing the ceremony, Commissioner Marwat said that Pakistan, unfortunately, remains one of those three countries across the globe where the eradication of polio remains a dream.

He stressed the need for not only continuing the struggle against polio but also reiterated the need to further accelerate these efforts so that the dream of a polio-free Pakistan can be materialised.

The commissioner added that they were located adjacent to some districts where a large number of polio cases have been reported in recent months.

“DI Khan has become one of the high-risk areas,” Marwat said as he appreciated the performance of the district administration and the district health department and all the other concerned departments and organizations.

DI Khan has so far this year reported one polio case as opposed to none for the past two years. The last time a polio case was reported from the district was in 2016 when one case was reported. No case was reported from the district in 2014 when the province had reported a high of 68 cases.

Five new polio cases in K-P

As many as five new polio cases have been reported from the province, officials confirmed on Wednesday. The cases were reported from North Waziristan, Bannu, and Charsadda.

The cases were confirmed by the coordinator of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Kamran Afridi, who said that three of the cases were reported from Bannu, while one each was confirmed from North Waziristan and Charsadda districts. Three girls and two boys were affected by the virus which has been confirmed by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad, Afridi said.

He added that with the new cases, the total cases reported from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have risen to 41 in the province, including 32 from the settled areas and nine from the newly-merged tribal districts.

The three cases from Bannu increased the tally of the district to 22 for the year so far, the highest of any district across the country. The case in North Waziristan meant that cases from the militancy-hit tribal district have increased to seven.

Afridi said that the rise in polio cases in Bannu was due to a combination of misperceptions amongst parents regarding the polio vaccine and the prevailing high transmission season for the virus.

“We have designed special programmes to create awareness amongst the community and have also utilised our resources to eliminate polio in large numbers in the southern districts of the province while campaigns to administer vaccines in districts most affected by polio will commence soon,” Afridi said.

He also urged the parents to actively cooperate with immunization teams to achieve targets of the programme.

“I assure you that the polio drops are tested and certified by international laboratories and that it is the only way to eliminate the curse of polio,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2019.

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