PESHAWAR / ISLAMABAD: As seven fresh polio cases surfaced in different parts of the country on Tuesday, an initiative was renewed to drive out the contagious disease from North Waziristan Agency (NWA) – which has been off limits to vaccinators for the last 30 months.
According to officials, a formal polio vaccination drive was started in four different villages of the North Waziristan’s Razmak tehsil on Tuesday and 1,349 children were vaccinated on the first day of the drive.
A couple of days back, Federally Administrative Tribal Areas’ (Fata) Additional Chief Secretary Mohammad Azam Khan had directed all political agents and other administrative officers to ensure that all children below the age of five were vaccinated.
The officials in collaboration with tribal elders have established vaccination centres in Hujras and mosques at Shinkai, Zaman Keley, Salmi Khel and Nawal villages. The drive will continue until all children below five years of age are vaccinated throughout the militancy-hit NWA, officials said.
Before Razmak, the political administration of Khyber Agency initiated a similar vaccination campaign at Landikotal and Jamrud tehsils on Monday. The four-day campaign will be completed on Thursday.
Meanwhile, seven new polio cases surfaced across the country on Tuesday, taking the national count for 2014 to 253. The National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed the emergence of seven new cases in a single day.
Sharing the details of the cases, sources in the NIH said one case each was reported from Karachi’s Site Town and Balochistan’s Qila Abdullah, two new cases were reported from Khyber-Pakhtunkwa (K-P) – each from Peshawar and Karak – while three cases were reported from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) – from FR Bannu, Khyber Agency and South Waziristan
With this, the total number of polio cases reported in Karachi this year has reached 23 out of which 20 are ‘refusals’. In Fata, the count has reached 161. In total, 51 cases are reported from Khyber Pakhtunkwa (K-P), 26 from in Sindh, three from Punjab and twelve from Balochistan.
Militants from the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had imposed a ban on polio vaccination in the NWA in 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2014.