7 new polio cases take national total to 111 this year

December 19, 2019

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The polio vaccine is administered to a child during an immunisation drive in Hyderabad. — Photo by Umair Ali
The polio vaccine is administered to a child during an immunisation drive in Hyderabad. — Photo by Umair Ali

Seven new cases of polio have been reported from across the country, taking the overall tally of polio cases in the country this year to 111.

Of the seven cases that were reported on Wednesday, four emerged from KP — three from Laki Marwat district and one from Tank. The remaining three cases include one from Badin district in Sindh, one from Nasirabad and one from Mastung in Balochistan.

Of the 111 cases to have been reported this year, 79 are from KP, 17 from Sindh, nine from Balochistan, and six from Punjab.

The total number of cases in Pakistan this year. — EOC
The total number of cases in Pakistan this year. — EOC

Sindh has second-highest number of cases

This means that Sindh falls second only to KP which has 73 cases. Within Sindh, Karachi has witnessed the highest number of cases this year, i.e., six.

The latest polio case in the province was identified on Wednesday night as 72-month-old-Sharan Hussain, son of Haji Dasti, a resident of union council Manak Leghari in Matli taluka of Badin district.

A few days back, 72-month-old Irfan from Siyal colony and 3-year-old Rehan from Digri taluka in Mirpurkhas were also found to have polio.

The genetic sequencing examination of the two cases from Mirpurkhas had revealed that the virus in Rehan had originated from Hyderabad/Gadap while that in Irfan had its origins in Gadap, Karachi.

Findings from the genetic sequencing examination in the Badin case have yet to be reported.

According to figures available with the EOC, Pakistan had 12 cases in 2018, while Sindh had only one polio case that year, from Karachi.

A three-day Sindh-wide campaign, excluding Karachi, has now ended and a two-day catch up is underway to cover refusals and children listed as "not available".

Barring Karachi, out of 6.78 million children, 6.4m (94.5 per cent of the target) have been vaccinated in Sindh. In Karachi, out of 2.3m children, one million have been vaccinated.

The catch up campaign in the provincial metropolis will continue till Sunday.

A total number of nine million children are to be vaccinated against polio across Sindh during the ongoing campaign that started on December 16.

Campaign workers robbed

Meanwhile, personnel of the polio eradication campaign, including a lady health worker were deprived of their vaccination box, cash and cell phones by dacoits in upper Sindh’s Shikarpur district on Wednesday morning.

Health department sources confirmed that Dr Javed Soomro and his team were on their way to taluka support centre in Haji Zangi Brohi village when they were intercepted by three armed bandits who were riding a CG-125 motorbike on Zarkhail road.

The EOC spokesman had confirmed the incident. According to Larkana Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Irfan Baloch, the team was intercepted in the jurisdiction of police station Faujdari.

The bandits looted 10 cell phones, Rs25,000 cash, and vaccines.

In another incident, Taluka Support Person (TSP) Tufail Mahar was deprived of his cell phone on Khanwah road.

Tufail Mahar informed the Shikarpur District Health Officer (DHO) that the bandits also fired shots in the air while snatching his cell phone.

Shikarpur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Dr Rizwan confirmed the incident on Zarkhail road and expressed hope that the bandits will be apprehended. He said that no such incident had occurred in the area previously.