QUETTA: A 12-month-old infant on Saturday emerged as the third victim of polio virus from Balochistan since the start of this year.
The child, Niamatullah, hails from the Dukki area of Loralai district. According to sources in the health department, the child’s parents had not allowed officials to administer polio vaccine to Niamatullah during the government’s anti-polio drive in the province.
The earlier two polio cases this year had emerged from from Chaman and Chaghi area of Balochistan.
“Despite the recent anti-polio campaign in the area, the child’s parents had chosen to refrain from getting their kid vaccinated,” said officials while talking to Dawn.com.
Around two dozen polio cases were reported from Balochistan last year. The most affected areas in the province include Quetta, Killa Abdullah and Pishin district.
The government has declared a polio emergency throughout the province to root out the crippling virus from the region. But the anti-polio drive in the province has been marred by instances of terrorism, whereby polio health workers have been attacked and killed on numerous occasions.
After an attack late last year that killed four polio workers in Quetta, including three women, volunteers and health workers boycotted the campaign in Balochistan in lieu of security threats.
But the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the provincial government, has been resilient in its efforts to drive out the virus from the region. After the deadly attack in Quetta last year, the WHO made clear it will not close down or withdraw its operations in Balochistan or anywhere else in Pakistan.