Emergence of two polio cases within seven months in Larkana sends alarm bells ringing

Updated 08 Dec 2019

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Larkana had remained a polio-free district for eight years. — Reuters/File
Larkana had remained a polio-free district for eight years. — Reuters/File

LARKANA: Two polio cases have resurfaced within seven months in Larkana, which had remained a polio-free district for eight years, according to district health officer Syed Amjad Shah.

The officer told Dawn that the latest case reported from riverine Soonharo Gadhi village in Karani union council on Nov 9 was that of Hasnain Gadhi, nine months, who was suspected of having acute flaccid paralysis (AFC) and his stool sample was sent to the National Institute of Health for confirmation of the disease.

The NIH confirmed the case as polio positive despite the fact that the boy had been administered three doses of anti-polio vaccine during routine immunisation campaign and four more doses during special immunisation campaign, said the DHO.

Asked if the NIH indicated in its report about the original place from where the virus had travelled there, he replied in negative saying the boy’s family said they had never migrated from this area, permanently or temporarily, nor travelled to other districts.

He said that health department teams visited the union council recently where the new case had emerged. Specially recruited staff working under WHO’s supervision had to focus attention across the river and carry out immunisation drive there.

He said that the other case was reported in May this year, the second within seven months, when three-year-old Fiza was diagnosed with polio virus in Sehar village on April 17. Both the villages fell within the administrative limits of Dokri taluka of Larkana district, said the sources and linked the virus resurgence to Gadap in Karachi.

Larkana Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Nauman Siddiq had chaired a meeting on Nov 22 on ensuing anti-polio drive from Dec 16 to 20 and urged making the campaign a success. No child falling within the age bracket of one day to five years should be left unvaccinated, he said.

He asked health officials to be vigilant about the staff performing duties in the drive and ensure that no one should be absent during the campaign.

Larkana Commissioner Saleem Raza Khuhro presided over a mee­ting of divisional task force on polio on Dec 3 in which deputy com­­m­issioners of Qambar-Shahdad­kot, Kashmore-Kand­hkot, Jacobabad, additional deputy commissioner-I, health officials and other stakeholders had participated.

The commissioner stressed ensuring proper monitoring of the performance of polio teams while the DCs briefed the meeting about preparations.

The additional commissioner-II who headed Emergency Response Unit at commissioner’s office had also briefed the participants about the polio eradication plans.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2019