ISLAMABAD: Amid propaganda against the polio vaccine and refusal by parents to inoculate their children against the virus, five more polio cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were confirmed on Wednesday.
Not a single child out of the five victims had been vaccinated against the crippling disease during immunisation campaigns.
With the latest addition, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, including the newly merged tribal districts, shares 31 of the total 37 cases reported across the country so far this year, while Sindh and Punjab have reported three cases each.
In a sharp contrast, last year 12 cases were reported from across the country and only eight in 2017.
None of the victims received vaccine against virus
According to a notification of the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, three of the five children with polio virus hailed from Bannu district and two others from Torghar district.
In Bannu, wild polio virus was detected in stool samples of a two-month-old boy of Sardikhel union council, eight-month-old boy of Lewan UC and 27-month-old boy of Nasirkhel UC.
In Torghar, a 16-month-old boy and a four-year girl were tested positive for the deadly virus.
KP Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator retired captain Kamran Ahmed Afridi expressed grave concern over the persistent virus circulation in the province and the resultant increase in number of polio victims.
He claimed that the efforts put in by the KP government to eradicate polio from the region would not bear fruit unless parents understood that their decision to refuse polio vaccine not only demonstrated their indifference to children’s health but was also an expression of disregard to the national cause.
Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2019