NORTH WAZIRISTAN— Pakistan experiences a major blow to its efforts of becoming polio-free as some North Waziristan reports eight polio cases in less than two months.
The health ministry reported the latest infection in a 20-month-old infant in Miranshah area.
Federal Health Minister Ghulam Qadir Patel said the polio cases were emerging from the area already decalred sensitive, claiming that the government had made ‘concrete efforts’ after the first two cases of this year were reported from North Waziristan.
He said the government is taking measures on war-footing to eradicate the poliovirus from Pakistan, emphasizing that eradication of the disabling and life-threatening disease was a collective responsibility.
The health minister urged the people to ensure their children were administered polio drops and vowed that the government would utilize all resources to make Pakistan polio free.
Threat still looms
Federal Health Secretary Dr Fakhar Alam said anti-polio drive was carried out simultaneously in Pakistan and Afghanistan from May 23 to May 27, adding that around 50 million children were administered polio drops.
Dr Alam said that movement of people between neighboring countries pose a threat of virus spread, adding that they were taking cross-border measures to stop spread of the disease.
He emphasized that efforts were required to protect children from lifetime disability. The first polio case was detected in the district earlier this month on April 23, nearly after 15 months in the country.
Pakistan had reported only one WPV1 case in 2021 which had onset of paralysis on 27 January in Killa Abdullah, Balochistan. In December last, UNICEF had signaled of polio eradication in Pakistan after only a single case was reported in year of 2021.