ISLAMABAD: Six new polio cases have surfaced in three provinces, taking the total number of children infected by the crippling virus to 148 in the country. Two cases each were reported in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Punjab and Sindh on Thursday.
According to K-P Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio Eradication, a two-year-old boy from Dera Ismail Khan and a nine-month-old girl from Lakki Marwat’s tehsil Sari Naurang have been affected by poliomyelitis. With these two children, the total number of polio cases in the province has reached 91.
In Punjab, an official source in the polio control programme said both the patients are female. One is aged six months and the other twelve, he said.
“One of the babies, whose left lower limb has been paralysed due to the crippling disease, belongs to Ali Wala union council in DG Khan,” he said. “The second baby hails from Sakhi Sarwar union council, whose both lower limbs have been paralysed.”
The number of polio cases reported from Punjab reached eight with the addition of these two cases, he added.
EOC for Polio Eradication, Sindh confirmed two new polio cases, bringing the total number of affected children to 24 in the province.
“The two cases are not from the current year but pertain to 2019,” the EOC spokesperson clarified. “One of the affected children (36 months) is from Lalu Raunk union council, Qambar-Shahdadkot district.”
The boy was said to have an onset date of December 14, 2019 with weakness in both lower limbs and that according to his parents he had received oral polio vaccine but no routine immunisation or IPV, he added.
The other affected child – a 144-month-old boy – with an onset date of December 22, 2019 was tested positive for polio virus after facing weakness in his facial muscles.
The spokesperson blamed the long gap in door to door immunisation campaigns as the major reason behind the rise in polio cases. The total number of registered polio cases in Sindh are 22.
Luckily, no new polio case was reported from Balochistan, the largest province of the country. Previous year, 11 children were reportedly infected by the crippling virus.
As many as 128 polio cases were registered in Pakistan last year.
A two-day polio vaccination campaign aimed at covering more than 60,000 children under five – previously deprived of the critically needed intervention against the crippling disease in 34 sensitive districts of Karachi – will begin here on Friday (today).
The exercise is being held on the directives of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah with improved monitoring mechanism ensuring that the identified children do not miss the opportunity under any pretext, mainly refusals on part of their parents or community-based resistance.
Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar A Shalwani reviewed the arrangements for the targeted exercise and measures for taking on board the area influential and heads of the families of the concerned children while chairing a meeting at his office on Thursday.
He expressed satisfaction that members of the provincial and national assemblies along with opinion makers and religious scholars also committed to be on ground to play their due roles in the cause linked to quality life of children of the country.
The meeting among others was also attended by Karachi Additional Commissioner Asad Ali Khan, Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Coordinator Rehan Baloch, Karachi Commissioner’s task force coordinator Sohail Memon, deputy commissioners from different districts of Karachi, officials representing Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, Karachi police and WHO, Unicef as well as Rotary Club representatives.
With additional input from APP