PESHAWAR: The number of polio cases continues to rise in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Area (Fata) and it seems as if the country is falling into a bottomless pit.
According to an update by the health department, two more polio cases were reported in K-P and tribal areas, taking the number of reported cases in the country to 158 in the running year.
Among the two new cases, one case was reported in Nowshehra, where one-year-old Iqra was diagnosed with polio virus, while doctors in North Waziristan diagnosed 15-months-old Farmina with the virus on November 11.
Nowshera, which is located adjacent to Peshawar (having an ongoing circulation of polio virus) is also included in the list of high risk districts, said the update.
According to Farmina’s parents, the area did not receive any oral polio vaccine or supplementary immunisation activities as their village has been inaccessible for the past three years due to militancy. Farmina’s case has brought the total number of polio victims in North Waziristan to 13 this year.
This year 63 children in Balochistan were diagnosed with polio, while 29 in Sindh were also reported to have the virus.
Forty seven children in Fata, 14 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and four in Punjab were also diagnosed this year.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday appointed Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector as Focal Person for Coordination and Monitoring of Polio Eradication in Pakistan. This was decided in a meeting presided over by the Prime Minister in connection with his Task Force on Polio Eradication. The government is planning to completely eradicate the crippling disease from the country by 2012.
Prime Minister Gilani urged all the chief ministers and the Prime Minister AJK to take up the issue on priority and hold monthly review of polio situation.
He also directed to involve parliamentarians, religious leaders, local notables and NGOs in the campaign against polio. Moreover, Gilani asked all provinces, including Gilgit-Baltistan, to be fully prepared for carrying out the campaign for “National Immunization” commencing from 19 December to 22 December this year throughout the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2011.
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