KARACHI, May 1: There has been no let-up in polio cases in the country as a 27-month-old girl, a resident of Mirpurkhas district, Sindh, was confirmed as suffering from the disease on Thursday.
The latest victim of the dreaded virus had an attack of paralysis on April 5, following which stool samples were collected and sent to the National Institute of Health.
The latest detection took the number of cases in the country so far this year to five, mocking the government’s claims that Pakistan was all set to give the disease “one final push”.
Earlier this year, Sindh reported one polio case each from Nawabshah (Jan1), Hyderabad (Jan 25), Shikarpur (Feb 25) and Karachi (April 1). The province has been reporting one case per month since May of last year.
While 13 polio cases have been confirmed in Sindh over the past 13 months, Punjab showed only one case, NWFP seven, Balochistan six and Fata two over the same period.
Islamabad has not reported any case since Dec 2003, the AJK has not had any case since June 2000 and Fata has remained polio-free since Jan 1998.
According to a source, the trend of polio cases reporting in Sindh is similar to last year’s when the province reported seven new cases from January to April. Of the five polio-affected children, three happened to be girls.
The latest affected girl was given 12 doses of oral vaccines, claimed another source.
Till Thursday night, the polio eradication executives of the province had not admitted that Reshma, the Mirpurkhas girl, had tested positive for polio.
Dr H.B. Memon, National Manager of the Expanded Programme of Immunisation, confirmed that the fifth polio case had once again been reported from Sindh.
According to the World Health Organisation, there is a discrepancy between figures furnished by the district administrations and independent evaluators vis-à-vis the polio immunisation drive.
“The difference of five per cent or more in the cases of Qillah Abdullah, Qilla Saifullah, Masgung, Khuzdar, Karac hi, Badin and Umerkot reinforces the need for improving campaigns quality as well as the post-campaign assessment,” a summary said.