Shaheen Afridi

Number of polio cases in Pakistan has surged to 10 after two more positive cases were reported from North Waziristan.

All the 10 have been reported from the North Waziristan district.

A Khyber Pakthunkhwa Polio Emergency Operations Center (EOC) report confirmed the polio virus in a 12 month old baby from Dosali area of the district while the second case was reported in 11 month old girl from Mir Ali.

The report said that an 11 month old child from Mir Ali area died after testing positive for virus while the other child from Dosali has been left disabled for rest of his life.

It said that both the children were not vaccinated.

The EOC said that southern districts of the province have been declared sensitive for the virus after detection of several cases from North Waziristan recently.

In addition to this, it said that authorities had also ran a special polio vaccination campaign in the North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Tank, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu districts from June 6 -13.

Health authorities had earlier in May had also run a special Outbreak Response campaign targeting to inoculate 164,000 children below five years age.

Expressing his concerns over emergence of polio cases from North Waziristan, federal minister for health Abdul Qadir Patel said that Pakistan has made remarkable breakthrough against the crippling virus over past few years.

Mr Patel said that government was focused to protect the gains made in the battle against polio virus. He also urged the parents to vaccinate their children against polio to boost their immunity against the crippling diseases.

On the other hand, polio expert point out that the cases were being reported from those areas where challenges in relation to polio campaign existed.

They said that special campaigns were also being launched to reduce the spread of the virus.

However, they also point out that many a parents were not inoculating their children despite serious threat of children being left crippled for rest of their lives. They said that refusals and fake markings have turned into major challenge for health authorities.

In addition to this, banned Tehrik Taliban Pakistan has banned health workers from inoculating children against the polio.

Safdar Dawar, a senior journalist from North Waziristan said that the polio workers were working in an atmosphere of fear. He said that they could not venture into remote areas to inoculate children due to security threats.

Mr Dawar said that due to this reason, polio cases were being reported from the district.

Earlier KP polio eradication cell had also held a Jirga with the local elders of the North Waziristan district and solicited their help in polio campaigns.

EOC the then head Abdul Basit said that jirgas can play a crucial role in reducing polio drops refusal.

On the other hand, health experts also cautioned that recirculation of polio virus has also put the other children of the area in jeopardy.

The recent cases have emerged after June 13 special polio campaign in the area while the May campaign had targeted the districts falling in the Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan Divisions.

Health authorities said that these campaigns were aimed at stopping the spread of the virus and saving children in the areas from it.

With two new cases, Pakistan polio tally has surged to 10 while global tally has touched 13. Besides, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malawi and Mozambique have reported one case each.

On the other hand, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries on the planet where polio virus is an epidemic.

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