PESHAWAR: Another polio case has surfaced in South Waziristan tribal district after which the number of polio cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year has increased to 46.

According to a spokesman for the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the fresh polio case has surfaced in Ladha tehsil’s Chalaeray Killi area. A 10-year-old child in the area has been diagnosed with poliovirus. The spokesman said the affected child did not get polio vaccination drops due to which the disease affected him.

The spokesman said the main reason behind emergence of recent polio cases is refusal of the parents to administer polio drops to their children. He said the problem can be overcome if all the parents cooperate with the vaccination teams and not even a single child misses vaccination.

The spokesman said polio vaccine is safe in every respect. He said parents should not pay heed to negative propaganda against polio vaccination and save their children from the crippling disease by fully cooperating with the vaccination teams.

Recently, the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of World Health Organisation (WHO) on Polio Eradication declared Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a major barrier to polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.

The TAG, which is the main evaluation body, said the parallel system of polio eradication in KP is one of the main reasons behind the failure of the system. The TAG said the EOC of KP is not aligned with the EOC in the Centre and roles and responsibilities of the EOC in KP are not clear. It said the KP polio programme must be reset as the current mechanism of different strategic approaches to polio vaccination programmes, particularly in far off areas, is not working.

Alarming increase has been witnessed in polio cases in Pakistan recently with 60 cases reported in the country this year, including 46 in KP. The TAG said the merger of erstwhile Fata with KP was a contributing factor and fake finger prints showed in some areas to dodge the polio teams by unwilling parents was also a major problem.

The KP government has also taken several actions to control the spread of polio virus including blocking the identity cards of refusing parents, sacking the negligent staff and acting against those who make propaganda against vaccination. However, the desired results could not be achieved due to reasons probably pointed out by the TAG.