Abdul Sattar

Pakistan tally of polio cases this year surged to 14 after another case was polio from North Waziristan was confirmed.

The polio virus was confirmed in eight month old child from the Miran Shah area of the North Waziristan district.

National Institute of Health (NIH) in its report stated that the two samples from an eight months old baby girl from the Miran Shah tehsil of North Waziristan district were found positive for the virus. The report said that the virus has left the child disabled for life.

It said that the parents had not inoculated the child against the polio.

National Emergency Operations Center for Polio in a statement said that this was the 13 polio case to be reported from the North Waziristan district.

The only case reported outside of North Waziristan was detected in Lakki Marwat district of KP, where a minor girl was found positive for the virus.

On the other hand, a North Waziristan district health official told TNN that due to refusals, many children were left unvaccinated. In addition to this, fake marking of the children was also a problem, which was resulting into higher number of cases from the district.

In addition to this, he said that due to tribal traditions and security situation, polio workers were also facing problems.  On the other hand, local influential and elders also used to pressure polio team for fake marking of children without giving them polio drops.

He said that health department categorized the fake marking as silent refusal, wherein a child finger is marked with black marking and his details were entered as vaccinated despite the fact that the child is unvaccinated.

The official said that emergency polio campaign was run in the district after the emergence of the positive cases and now even those being left out were also vaccinated.

Earlier on July 22, Lakki Marwat district reported first polio case outside of North Waziristan wherein the samples from an 18 months child belonging to the Gandi Khan union council of Sarai Naurang tehsil were found positive for the virus.

Dr Zeeshan, deputy coordinator polio for KP said that a polio campaign will be launched from August 15 in the southern districts of the province, wherein 2 million children of five years will be vaccinated.

The official said that they have run four special campaigns after the emergence of polio cases from the southern districts to boost immunity of the children.

On the other hand, national immunization campaign will start from August 31.

Similarly, the federal ministry of health in its report noted that polio virus only existed in Afghanistan and Pakistan currently. Pakistan has reported 14 while Afghanistan has reported only one case to the global tally of polio cases.

The health ministry said that both the countries have coordinated their anti polio campaigns in June. In addition to this, travelling children were being inoculated at the crossing points. Besides, children below years of age were also vaccinated at important transit points.

Earlier last year, Balochistan had reported only polio case from the Pakistan; however, cases started to emerge from North Waziristan after a gap of 14 months.

Since April this year, a total of 14 cases have been reported from North Waziristan and Lakki Marwat.

Out of total global polio tally, America, Mozambique and Mali have reported one polio case each.