Health officials on Thursday confirmed that a four-year-old boy tested positive for polio virus in Pashtunabad, on the outskirts of Quetta, raising the total number of cases in the country to 26 this year.
Officials at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) said that poliovirus was reported in samples obtained from 57-month-old Sharifullah. They revealed that the boy’s parents had refused immunisation against the crippling disease citing religious reasons.
They added that Sharif Ullah’s father, Abdul Khaliq believed that polio drops cause impotency.
Read: Polio cases drop by 70% in 2015: govt
Commenting on the situation, Dr Syed Saifur Rehman, who heads the centre for polio eradication in the province, said that “Parents are responsible for destroying the lives of their children.” “They are putting the country at stake when they refuse to administer anti-polio drops,” he added.
Most polio cases in the country are primarily the result of non-administration of the vaccine either due to the family’s refusal or because polio volunteers are not able to reach families due to security impediments.
Read: Crippling disease: New polio case detected in SWA
Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio is still endemic. Efforts to eradicate the debilitating disease have been hampered by opposition from militant groups, who see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage, as well as long-running rumours about the drops causing infertility.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.