ISLAMABAD: Another polio case has been reported from Balochistan, taking the national tally of cases so far this year to 60.
A 17-month-old girl, who belongs to Chaman town of Qila Abdullah district, has become the latest victim of the crippling disease.
According to an official of the National Institute of Health (NIH), it was a case of refusal as the family was against the vaccination due to which the vaccine was not administered to the child during the routine immunisation.
“The child is resident of Union Council Mehmoodabad, tehsil Chaman, Qila Abdullah district. The victim’s right lower limb has been paralysed and the socioeconomic status of family has been declared poor,” he said.
The National Emergency Operation Centre is all set to commence a nationwide anti-polio campaign from Monday to administer polio drops to children in specific union councils across the country.
It is worth mentioning that as many as 147 cases of polio were reported in 2019 as compared to 12 cases in 2018 and only eight in 2017. However, during the current year 60 cases have been confirmed.
According to provincial break-up, as many as 21 cases have been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 20 from Sindh, 15 from Balochistan and four from Punjab during the current year.
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, his/her protection against the virus is increased.
Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.
However, there are only two countries in the world — Pakistan and Afghanistan — where polio cases are being reported. Pakistan remains under a polio-linked travel restriction imposed by the World Health Organisation due to which, since 2014, every person travelling abroad has to carry a polio vaccination certificate.
Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2020