Crippling disease: Another child from Bara contracts polio virus

During this year alone, four cases of polio have been reported from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, PHOTO: FILE

During this year alone, four cases of polio have been reported from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: A new case of polio has been discovered in Bara tehsil, Khyber Agency, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 10.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad confirmed the type-1 virus on Monday in eight-month-old Abubakr Siddique, a resident of Haji Mullah Khel Hujra, Akakhel tehsil.

According to the institute’s report, the onset of paralysis in Abubakr occurred on May 10. The report further stated the child had not received a single dose of oral polio vaccine.

“The area from where the case was reported has been inaccessible for many months,” said an official of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI) cell, requesting anonymity. “We usually conduct vaccination campaigns in Khyber Agency with the help of the political administration. However, there is a possibility this child remained unvaccinated.”

The last case reported from Bara was on May 10 when 10-month-old Fawad tested positive for the type-1 polio virus. The child hailed from Sama Garghi Village in Milwat, Khyber Agency. Milwat cannot be reached by vaccination teams because of deteriorating law and order.

According to the Polio Monitoring Cell, a sub-national immunisation drive was completed last week in Fata, with the exception of Tirah Valley, and Frontier Region Peshawar, with a target of 7,976 and 23,355 children respectively.

When Fawad’s case emerged, the NIH had stated a total 160,000 children remained unvaccinated in Bara from September 2009 to April 2012 when internally displaced persons fled to Peshawar.

However, the FATA Health Directorate had managed to reach Tirah Valley in September of last year after a three-year gap and immunised 32,641 children against polio and other diseases.

During this year alone, four cases of polio have been reported from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, two each from Sindh and Fata and one from Punjab. While the total number of cases reported in the country last year was 58.

Source: The Express Tribune

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