KARACHI: Sindh’s health ministry on Friday confirmed that a two-year-old boy belonging to this city had become the year’s 10th victim of poliovirus from the province.
The emergency operation centre (EOC) for polio in Sindh said a 24-month-old boy from Jamshed Town’s Jacob Lines neighbourhood was hit by lifelong disability because his family did not allow him to be vaccinated in anti-polio campaigns.
“The child has not had any routine immunisation and has not received any dose. As a result, his left thigh is affected,” said a senior official at the EOC.
Sindh is the country’s second province after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the total number of polio cases has hit double digits. The total number of polio cases in the country has now reached 86. Five of the 10 cases of Sindh have been reported from Karachi, two from Hyderabad and one each from Larkana, Jamshoro and Sujawal districts.
The ministry officials said polio campaigns had repeatedly been carried out in the province. But the number of refusals was on the rise.
Eleven sites have been documented in Karachi from where sewage samples were drawn on a monthly basis and the samples were found to be positive. Three of such sites are in Gadap Town, two in Gulshan, and one each in Baldia, SITE, Landhi, Korangi, Liaquatabad and Saddar.
They said because of frequent migration of people from areas with polio reservoirs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Afghanistan, it was difficult to eradicate poliovirus from Karachi.
In addition, a large number of children are being missed in vaccination campaigns; the number of such children is increasing due to some recent incidents in Peshawar.
Official figures for June showed a total number of 102,756 children could not be vaccinated because of their families’ refusal to get them inoculated; another 70,756 remained unavailable.
The officials said they had planned for more anti-polio drives from December to June. They requested parents to cooperate with the polio teams and get their children under five years of age vaccinated against the crippling disease.
“Repeated vaccination is the only way to get rid of the poliovirus,” said an official at the EOC.
The Pakistan Paediatric Association and religious scholars have also advised parents to get their children vaccinated against the disease during every campaign.
Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2019