Polio strikes again: Third case of 2023 confirmed in Pakistan

34 such environmental samples have tested positive for poliovirus in various parts of country

All three cases were reported from KP’s Bannu district

In a concerning development, Pakistan has reported its third poliovirus case of the year 2023, once again raising alarms about the country’s efforts to eradicate this crippling disease.

The latest case has been detected in the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the same region where the previous two cases were reported.

The most recent victim is an unfortunate one-and-a-half-year-old girl residing in the Ghoda Baka Khel Union Council of Bannu district.

Tragically, she has been left crippled due to the infection, emphasizing the devastating consequences of the disease. With this latest case, the tally of polio-infected children in Pakistan for the year now stands at three, all from Bannu district.

ll three cases have affected children residing in KP’s Bannu district. Meanwhile, the poliovirus was again detected in the environmental samples of the district.

So far, 34 environmental samples have tested positive for poliovirus in Pakistan.

The government, earlier this week on Monday, began its seven-day anti-polio campaign across the country, with more than 40 million children targeted to receive the anti-polio vaccine along with a supplementary dose of vitamin A.

Caretaker Minister for Health Services Dr Nadeem Jan has urged parents to fully cooperate with the vaccination teams and ensure that their children are vaccinated.

In Punjab, the polio immunisation campaign will continue for seven days, while the vaccine will be administered for consecutive days in other districts.

In a statement caretaker Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Dr Jamal Nasir said during the polio campaign 212 million children will be vaccinated and 204,000 polio workers will participate in the campaign.

In KP, the campaign is launched in five divisions — Peshawar, Malakand, Hazara, Mardan and Kohat. More than seven million children up to five years of age are being inoculated during this phase of vaccination. The second phase of the anti-polio drive will begin from next Monday in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan divisions.

PM Kakar ensures eradication of poliovirus

Meanwhile, chairing a meeting of the National Task Force for eradication of polio, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has called on every section of society to play a role in the complete eradication of poliovirus from the country.

Kakar directed the authorities concerned to engage religious scholars, teachers, parents and other stakeholders to become part of the polio awareness campaign in the country.

He also directed to ensure the security of polio workers during the anti-polio campaign. Expressing satisfaction over the significant drop in polio cases in the country, he said the nation would celebrate the day soon when every child in the country would be completely safe from this disease.

Expressing concern over reports of poliovirus in three districts of the country, he directed to run a special anti-polio campaign in areas where the poliovirus has been reported.

The interim PM said the government was grateful to the international partners for their active participation and key support in Pakistan’s National Polio Programme The meeting was informed that compared to the 20 cases reported in the country last year only two cases have been reported this year which is mainly due to the continuation of anti-polio campaigns at the national level.

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