PESHAWAR: A polio case has been reported from Peshawar after a gap of four years.
A four and a half years old child from Sufaid Dheri area of Peshawar has been diagnosed with poliovirus. According to the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), it is the first case of polio in Peshawar in four years. The last polio case in Peshawar emerged in 2016.
The samples of the affected child were taken on July 13 and the results showed that he has been infected by poliovirus. The emergence of new polio case in Peshawar took the tally in Pakistan this year to 61.
After a gap of four months due to coronavirus pandemic, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government resumed the polio vaccination campaign in the province on July 20. The previous vaccination campaign was carried out in February 2020. The authorities in Pakistan have to battle poliovirus and coronavirus at the same time.
While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from the crippling disease. With each vaccination of children below the age of five years, their protection against the virus is increased. No vaccination means more vulnerability to the virus particularly in Pakistan where it is endemic.
Currently, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world which have not fully eradicated polio. The main cause behind the emergence of so many polio cases is refusal of parents to cooperate with the vaccination teams. According to media reports citing Health Ministry data, over a million parents refused to cooperate with vaccination teams in 2019.
Experts believe that polio vaccination efforts cannot succeed completely until the refusing parents are convinced to cooperate with vaccination teams.
Reports were not available whether the infected child received polio vaccination during campaigns or not. However, in majority of recent polio cases, it was found that their parents did not cooperate with the vaccination teams. This year’s vaccination campaigns were marred by coronavirus, however, the children who got the vaccination in earlier campaigns showed enough resistance and polio did not spread during the corona situation. The emergence of polio case in Sufaid Dheri has created concerns among the parents and health department.