Polio case reported in Pakistan after 15 months


ISLAMABAD: The NEOC Coordinator Dr Shahzad Baig confirmed that a poliovirus case was reported in Pakistan after 15 months which is the third polio case in 2022 globally, ARY News reported on Friday.

Pakistan national polio laboratory has confirmed that the new polio case was detected in North Waziristan, whereas, the last poliovirus case had been reported back on January 27, 2021, from Killa Abdullah – Balochistan.

The polio laboratory had also confirmed the detection of positive environmental samples collected from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) earlier in the month.

The government is organising special campaigns on an emergency basis to completely eliminate the poliovirus.

READ: IN LETTER TO ALVI, BILL GATES LAUDS PAKISTAN’S ‘REMARKABLE’ PROGRESS IN FIGHT AGAINST POLIO

Dr Shahzad Baig, the Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre for Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme (NEOC), appealed to the parents for administering anti-polio drops to their children.

He said in a Twitter thread, “Deeply saddened to share that a 15-month-old boy has been paralyzed in North Waziristan, Southern KP, as #Pakistan confirms a wild #poliovirus case after nearly 15 months.”

“I feel grieved but determined. This only strengthens our resolve to do more, to keep doing better, and do whatever it takes to ensure that no child ever again is paralyzed by polio. All of us must play our part in increasing awareness on #polio in Pakistan.”

READ: BILL GATES THANKS PM IMRAN FOR PRODUCTIVE DISCUSSION ON POLIO ERADICATION

Dr Baig said, “Without global polio eradication efforts, an estimated 20 million people today would be paralyzed by this disease. #Pakistan and #Afghanistan are the only two polio-endemic countries left in the world. Our children too, deserve a polio-free life.”

He added, ” This highly infectious virus affects the most vulnerable amongst us, children under five, causing lifelong paralysis or death. No child in the world should have to suffer like this, especially from a virus that is preventable.”

The coordinator said that the Pakistan Polio Programme traces and hunts down the virus wherever it may be harbouring. This case is both tragic, while at the same time, not entirely unexpected, after positive virus samples appeared in the environment in south KP late last year.

“At the beginning of this year, an emergency action plan was initiated for the area. It is being implemented with immediacy and urgency, allowing us to reach more children than ever before,” said Dr Baig.

He detailed that following the confirmation of this case in NW and a positive virus sample in Bannu, the brave health workers are working tirelessly to ensure that the virus does not spread elsewhere.

Health minister chairs session

Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel chaired a session to review the current situation of poliovirus cases in the country which was attended by the federal health secretary, DG health, NEOC coordinator and senior officers.

The NEOC coordinator gave a detailed briefing to the health minister in which he confirmed the emergence of a polio case in North Waziristan today.

Patel directed officials to expedite efforts for curbing the spread of the virus. He added that the elimination of poliovirus is our religious and moral responsibility.

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