As two more polio cases were reported from the tribal areas, the governor said the government has taken up the challenge to protect every child from the crippling disease.
In his speech marking World Polio Day on Thursday, Governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan said help from the youth, ulema and tribal elders will be sought to wipe out every possibility of reoccurrence of new polio cases.
So far this year, 49 cases of polio have been reported in Pakistan – nine less than the 58 toll of 2012. Three more polio cases were reported on Wednesday. A 12-month boy in Sheikhupura district, 15-month-old boy from Bara tehsil, Khyber Agency and a three-year-old girl from Pai Khel tehsil, Miranshah were among those affected.
“We are confident in overcoming the virus with more active and determined support from our polio teams, law enforcement agencies, political administration, parliamentarians, and tribal elders within the shortest possible time,” he added.
Addressing the programme held at the Governor House, Khan said, “We have pinned hopes to our educated youth to reach every family and educate them in getting their children regular polio vaccines.”
Children in Bara tehsil have been administered polio drops after a huge loss, and now is the time that all segments of society and stakeholders, especially polio teams, join hands and contribute devotedly to ensure that no child is left unvaccinated.
The total number of cases from the tribal areas has reached 36, which accounts to more than 70% cases in Pakistan. The cases from the tribal belt include 15 from Khyber Agency, 15 from North Waziristan, five from Frontier Region (FR) Bannu and one from FR DI Khan.
The ceremony was attended by FATA Scouts, students from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas studying in various universities, representatives of the World Health Organization, UNICEF as well as government officials.
The working of polio teams will be thoroughly reviewed after a while and if their performance is not satisfactory, new employees will take over, the governor said.
Pakistan is among only three countries of the world where the virus still exists.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2013.