First polio case in Waziristan since Taliban ban

Published May 06, 2013 12:46pm
—File Photo.
—File Photo.

ISLAMABAD: A child has contracted polio for the first time in Pakistan’s militant-infested tribal belt since the Taliban banned vaccinations a year ago, a UN official said Monday.

“The new case has been detected in North Waziristan where we had been denied access in June last year,” the World Health Organization’s (WHO) senior coordinator for polio eradication in Pakistan, Elias Durry, told AFP.

Tribesmen in North Waziristan, Pakistan’s most notorious stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants, endorsed the Taliban ban and stopped authorities from vaccinating children under a nationwide campaign.

“This has been the first case since we were stopped from vaccinating children in the region last year,” Durry said.

The Taliban alleged that the campaign was a cover for espionage.

Efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease have been hampered over the years by local suspicion about vaccines being a plot to sterilise Muslims, particularly in Pakistan’s conservative and poorly educated northwest.

“We are worried because this new case comes as an example of a bigger impending outbreak of disease in the region,” the WHO official said.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries in the world where the highly infectious, crippling disease remains endemic and infections shot up from a low of 28 in 2005 to almost 200 last year.

Durry said the United Nations and the Pakistani government are working together to reach out to the children in North Waziristan.

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Comments (5) (Closed)


Rajan
May 06, 2013 02:07pm

Isn't it a shame?

nasir siddique
May 06, 2013 07:06pm

I hope someone can eplxina why that poor child has to live a crippled life when this was so preventable.

How could we possible be going in the right direction when we force our nation into illiteracy by destroying schools and our children to become handicap by denying them vaccinations.

I fail to see why we tolerate since idiots within our country. I seriously question our commitment to our country and look back at our actions that have resulted in the formation of these animals.

Yawar
May 06, 2013 09:42pm

For the sake of innocent children, I hope and pray to Allah that our religious scholars publicly condemn the threats from TTP against health workers giving polio vaccinations.

US CENTCOM
May 06, 2013 09:44pm

It’s morally irresponsible and shameful to let children become crippled from a disease that has been eradicated worldwide. Taliban who have stopped healthcare workers from administrating the polio drops to children in Waziristan and FATA are nothing but bullies who have no interest in the future of their country. Children are the future of any nation. These thugs see them as a vehicle that delivers their dirty bomb to kill more innocent Pakistanis. It is time to identify the enemies of the state and eliminate them so the children of the region can grow healthy and happy and be productive citizens of the world community.

Abdul Quddus DET-United States Central Command www.centcom.mil/ur

Qaiser Bakhtiari
May 06, 2013 10:47pm

Science 1, Theology 0. Enough said.