The National Institute of Health (NIH) reported two new polio cases from Khyber Agency and South Waziristan on Thursday.
According to the institute’s data, an 18-month-old girl was diagnosed with the virus in Sra Cheena village of Akka Khel in Bara tehsil, Khyber Agency. The toddler is said to be suffering from wild-type-1 polio as is another child from Ghawa Khawa village of Wana tehsil in South Waziristan.
Both children had not received any dose of the vaccine as there had been no polio drives in their areas due to the adverse security situation.
With the two new cases, the total number of cases in the country this year has hit 209. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) leads with the most number of cases at 138, followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) at 43. There are 19 cases in Sindh and six in Balochistan, while three children were diagnosed with the virus in Punjab.
A polio campaign will begin in Fata later this month. A jirga was held in Khar, Bajaur Agency on Thursday where political administration official Shah Naseem Khan urged elders from the Uthman Khel tribe to ensure security for polio teams in their respective areas. Khan said Bajaur Agency has been free from polio since 2012 and it would be a great achievement of the people if they are able to successfully eradicate the crippling disease.
In Mohmand Agency, Political Agent Khushal Khan inaugurated the polio campaign at Agency Headquarters Hospital, Ghallanai where all assistant political agents and health department officials were present. Khan said after the IED blast which killed a polio worker in Safi earlier this month, strict measures have been taken for the safety of polio teams. The last polio case reported from Mohmand was also in 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2014.