PESHAWAR: Five more polio cases have been reported in Pakistan after which the tally in the country this year has reached 91.
Out of the new reported cases, three have been reported from Sindh and two from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Officials said that in Sindh the cases have been reported from Nawabshah and Jamshoro and in KP the cases have been reported from Bannu and Lakki Marwat.
With the emergence of new cases, the threat of spread of poliovirus in the country has further increased. An official said the affected children are aged between three months to 12 years. He said poliovirus was confirmed in a 12-year-old boy in in Kemari area of Karachi, three-month-old girl in Sakrand tehsil of Nawabshah and two and a half years old girl in Kotri tehsil of Jamshoro district. He added that in KP, poliovirus has been detected in the samples of three-month-old girl in Serai Naurang tehsil of Lakki Marwat and 10-month-old boy in Wazir tehsil of Bannu. Now the tally in KP stands at 67.
The Emergence Operation Centre (EOC) National Coordinator Rana Muhammad Safdar confirmed emergence of five new polio cases in the country and said the tally has reached 91 this year. He urged the parents to fully cooperate with the vaccination teams to ensure eradication of the crippling disease.
In KP, most of polio cases are reported recently from Bannu and Lakki Marwat. Keeping in view the situation, a special polio immunization campaign was launched in Lakki Marwat few days ago. The main cause of emergence of polio cases in KP is non-cooperation of parents with the vaccination teams.
The new polio cases emerged a day after Pakistan assured international donors and partners about renewed efforts to eradicate polio from the country.
Currently, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world which have not fully eradicated polio. The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has turned 2019 a horrible year for Pakistan polio eradication programme mainly due to politicisation of the programme.
The IMB report pointed out that major polio outbreaks have occurred in North and South KP in second and third quarters of 2019, while the situation of other provinces is also not very encouraging. It also mentioned that poliovirus is more widespread in Pakistan as compared to 2018 i.e. 25 districts have reported polio cases in 2019 compared to five in 2018.