The number of this year’s nationwide polio cases has reached 115 with the confirmation of seven new cases by the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad. The institute on Tuesday tested positive for polio seven more children — one-year-old Sofia (daughter of Kabul Khan from Birmal,
South Waziristan), 18-month-old Munib Rehman (son of Hafiz Rehman from Miramshah, North Waziristan), 18-month-old Abdul Rauf (son of Mohammad Ayaz from Meri Khel village in Bara, Khyber Agency), 12-month-old Hazeena (daughter of Saddam from Shaa Dal village in Bara, Khyber Agency), 30-month-old Mihadullah (son of Haider Gul from Rasool Khan Khwar Speen Qabar village in Bara, Khyber Agency), 18-month-old Masood (son of Hamid from Khushali Wazir village in Razmak, North Waziristan) and 18-month-old Fida Rehman (son of Adeel Rehman from Tal village in Miramshah, North Waziristan).
According to sources in NIH, last year 39 polio cases had been registered by this time. Of 115 polio cases registered this year so far 84 are from Fata, 19 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10 from Sindh and one each from Punjab and Balochistan. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s health department which has found polio virus in Peshawar’s sewerage water is taking additional measures for the vaccination of displaced people from North Waziristan because it has scientifically been proven that they are transmitting the virus to children in the province. Arrival of the high transmission month (September) has already highlighted the need for intensified immunisation campaign against vaccine-preventable childhood disease in the province.
The past 15 years have witnessed that most polio cases were reported in September. The health department is trying to cope with situation after massive influx of infected children from North Waziristan. The city, where three polio cases were registered in June and July, needs urgent anti-polio campaigns. The department needs to plan campaigns in line with case response strategy of vaccinating 500,000 children in surrounding areas of the city. The health department is required to focus on Peshawar and displaced people simultaneously. -dawn