Four more cases of polio in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were confirmed on Saturday following a health update issued by the Fata Health Department.
The update said that the confirmed number of people infected with the polio virus in Fata this year has risen to 42 -- an alarming figure given the government’s and international donor agencies’ efforts to eradicate the crippling disease.
Of these four cases, two were detected in Khyber Agency, one in South Waziristan and one in Frontier Region (FR) Kohat.
Health officials believe that inaccessibility and security concerns are the major reasons behind the region’s increasing vulnerability to polio. According to the update, over 40 per cent of children in Khyber Agency and nearly 46 per cent in FR Kohat have not received any vaccinations during the anti-polio campaigns.
The patients include seven-month-old Haleema from Mirdad Khel in Landi Kotal and 26-month-old Inamullah, who belongs to Milaward in Khyber Agency, an area that has been inaccessible to health officials for the last two years.
Kaleemullah, who is 42 months old, was also detected to be suffering from the crippling disease on October 17. His family resides in Sararogha Tehsil of South Waziristan, a far-flung mountainous area where the polio teams have not visited since October 2009 due to security reasons, stated the health update.
Among the 42 cases reported from Fata, 15 have been reported from Khyber Agency, nine cases from North Waziristan Agency, four each from Mohmand and South Waziristan Agency, two each from FR Lakki Marwat and Orakzai and one each from Kurram and Bajaur Agency.
Twelve polio cases have been detected in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: five cases from Peshawar, two each from Buner and Torghar and one each from Bannu, Swabi and Upper Dir.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2011.
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