PESHAWAR, May 2: Health experts on Thursday blamed the delicate law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and adjoining tribal areas for poor vaccination and said 1.385 million children missing polio drops in the two regions during the last immunisation campaign for lawlessness.
Of these children, more than 763,000 were from the province and around 622,000 from Fata, according to Pakistan Paediatric Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa member Dr Mohammad Tufail.
Dr Tufail told reporters at Peshawar Press Club that doctors were concerned about delay in vaccination campaigns in parts of Fata and demanded adequate steps for protection of vaccinators.
He said around 265,000 children under five missed vaccination in North and South Waziristan agencies during the last polio campaign.
The PPA member said Expanded Programme on Immunisation had carried out a weeklong vaccination campaign against seven fatal diseases, including tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, tetanus, hepatitis B, hemophilia influenza B and pneumococcal.
“Around 90 per cent missing children will be contacted for vaccination to help them fight fatal diseases,” he said.
He, however, said during the campaign, only 30 per cent children were given vaccines against diseases and that there was a need for creation of public awareness of vaccination.
“We are fighting polio and will continue doing so until the crippling virus is eliminated from the country,” he said.
Dr Tufail said parents were not cooperating with vaccinators and therefore, around 33,360 children missed vaccination in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.
He said more than 732 measles cases were reported in the country during 2012 and of them, 13 children had died of measles due to poor vaccination and treatment.
Dr Tufail said 347 measles cases had been registered by a single hospital in Peshawar during the last four months and that more than eight children had died of measles in the city so far.
Another PPA member Dr Qayyum blamed high measles incidence on lack of public awareness and delay in children’s vaccination.
He said around 50 per cent children missed vaccination in every campaign against fatal diseases in the province.
Dr Qayyum said 246 measles cases had been registered by Khyber Teaching Hospital and 13 of them died due to lack of vaccination.
The health experts said all diseases could be prevented by proper vaccination and therefore, the parents should ensure that their children were given polio drops to protect them against fatal diseases.
They demanded that the government provide security to vaccinators targeting children, who missed vaccination during the last campaign.