02 September, 2014 / Ziqa'ad 6, 1435

Polio drops are administered at camp in Jalozai. – File photo by AP
Polio drops are administered at a camp. – File photo by AP

MIANWALI: Despite regular door-to-door anti-polio campaigns round the year in the district, a minor girl has been diagnosed with polio virus a few days ago in Kot Chandna Afghan Refugee camp, 30km from here.

According to reports, three-year-old Zulekha Naghma d/o Hadi Khan was administered anti-polio drops for 14 times.

Afghan refugee camp sources said Zulekha suffered from cough and fever nearly a month ago and her parents visited quacks for treatment who administered to her some injections but she did not recover. Ultimately they carried her to camp doctor with fever besides some crippling symptoms. The doctor referred her for laboratory test to Kalabagh THQ hospital.

Dr.Masood Malik, in-charge polio for Isakhel tehsil, provided her with treatment and sent her stool for test at National Institute of Health, Islamabad. A few days ago the laboratory diagnosis of polio shocked the health department being the first case of 2013.

After receipt of information, health department teams are visiting the camp to investigate the reason for the disease On Friday, a team of WHO headed by Dr Attique Ahmed visited the camp, examined the girl and took samples for test.

Talking to Dawn, Dr Rafaqatullah Khan, in-charge Afghan Refugee camp hospital, said a few weeks ago Zulekha had been brought with swollen left leg caused by injection on her buttocks. Owing to absence of lab facility at the camp, he referred her to the Kalabagh THQ hospital for test where she was diagnosed with polio. He said the girl was registered with the visiting polio team and her parents confirmed that she had been administered anti-polio drops for 14 times during 2012.

Dr.Khan said: “The presence of polio virus here cannot be ruled out because Afghans of the camp frequently travel to and from Afghanistan and they may contract infection.”

Last year, two children had been diagnosed with polio at Kundian town of the district but the local health department being afraid of inquiry put the matter under the carpet, ignoring the fact that both crippled children (brother and sister) were issued certificate for financial aid from social security by the then Mianwali DHQ hospital medical superintendent bearing “Polio as cause of disease.” Both children are helplessly waiting for treatment.

Mianwali DCO Zulfiqar Ahmed told this correspondent that he visited the Afghan camp on Friday and had conducted a facts-finding inquiry which revealed that polio teams did their duty honestly and administered drops for 14 times to children, including Zulekha.

The DCO said the initial lab report of NIH diagnosed polio virus. “The officials of Expanded Programme on immunisation (EPI) have informed me that there are many types of polio virus which render the polio drops ineffective in some cases and detailed test can lead to exact reasons. Nearly 0.3 million children are registered with polio teams in the district and they are given drops regularly round the year and the present case of polio is a rare one.”

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Comments (3) (Closed)

Mar 04, 2013 05:01pm
There are two types of polio vaccines. One is the live type which is given orally like drops (cheaper and easier) and the other is dead virus which is given through syringes (expensive). The oral drops, as it is a live virus, very rarely develops into actual Polio virus (more than one in a million chance). This is the reason why Polio drops are not given orally in USA and Europe but given through syringes. It is a cost vs. benefit situation.
Different View
Mar 04, 2013 01:28am
Pakistan and Afghanistan should share their experiences from the countries who have got rid of this disease from their homeland. They shouldn't feel the set back from this instance. Polio can be eradicated, and it should be eradicated, whatever it takes.
Different View
Mar 04, 2013 01:16am
Such a sad story. But people who are working on polio dose administration should find out all the reasons to prevent it. The drug have proven to be working. I sincerely hope that people believe in the drug and continue to administer the drug to young children. The goal should be 'No child get this decease.'