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Five more polio cases reported from KP

By Ikram Junaidi 2019-06-28
ISLAMABAD: Refusals and misconceptions have been hampering the polio eradication drive in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as five more cases have been reported from various parts of the province.

The cournty-wide tally for the first six months of the year 2019 has reached 32 as compared to 12 cases in 2018 and only eight in year 2017.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone has recorded 26 cases so far, mostly from the highly-infected Bannu division. Bannu has 11 cases and North Waziristan six, followed by Torghar with three and one each from D.I. Khan, Hangu, Lakki Marwat, Shangla, Bajaur and Khyber Agency.

An official of the Polio Virology Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH), requesting anonymity, said that two cases each had been reported from Bannu and Torghar and one from North Waziristan.

`An eight-month-old boy fromTakhti Khel Union Council and a 10-month-old boy from Kotka Gul Adat Khan village of Bannu district were diagnosed with the crippling virus,` he said.

`Of the two cases reported from Torghar, the first one is a 48-monthold girl who belongs to Gaeito village and the other is a 24-month-old boy from Harnail Union Council. From North Waziristan`s Zeraki village, an 11-month-old girl has been infected, he said.

When contacted, retired captain Kamran Ahmad Afridi, KP Emergency Operations Centre coordinator, said: `The propaganda against polio vaccine and increase in number ofrefusalcasesisamajorcausebehind the spike in cases in the province.

It was unfortunate that some people were hesitant to vaccinate their children on the basis of wrong notions due to which their children stayed exposed to polio which caused lifelong disabilities, he regretted.

In a video statement released by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Prime Minister`sFocal Person on Polio Babar Bin Atta has appealed to parents to vaccinate their children and avoid propaganda.

`The Peshawar polio drama created misconception due to which population of far-flung areas of KP are still reluctant to vaccinate their children. Parents should be aware that there is no cure for polio once the damage is done,` Mr Atta said.

`Fortunately, children who are vaccinated against polio multiple times are able to fight the virus back.

The more doses of the polio vaccine a child receives, the higher the chances of escaping lifelong paralysis,` said Mr Atta.

Itis worth mentioning that Pakistan remains to be one of the two last countries in the world, alongside Afghanistan, where polio virus continues to circulate. So f ar in 2019, a total of 32 polio cases have been reported, including 26 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal districts, three from Punjab and three from Sindh.

Nisar Ahrnad Khan in Mansehra also contributed to this report