ISLAMABAD: Four more cases of polio, two each for the years 2019 and 2020, have surfaced in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, pushing the tally for 2019 to 139 and cases for 2020 to four.
“Both cases for the year 2019 have been reported from the province of Sindh. An eight-year-old male child, resident of district and Kambar tehsil, Kambar III union council, has been confirmed with the virus of the crippling disease. The child died before confirmation of the case. Another 24-month-old boy, resident of Dadu district, Johi tehsil, Drigh Bala union council was diagnosed with polio,” an official of the emergency operation centre (EOC) told Dawn.
“Cases for year 2020 have been reported from provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). In Sindh, a 42-month-old boy, resident of Sujawal district, Jati tehsil, Kothi union council, has been paralysed with polio virus. In KP, an eight-month-old boy, resident of district and tehsil Lakki Marwat, Behram Khel union council, has been paralysed,” he said.
“Though we are in the year 2020, we are receiving cases for 2019 as well because the collection of sample is considered rather than the date of confirmation of the case,” he said.
He said that the incubation period of the polio virus was almost three weeks so samples were sent last year but were confirmed in the year 2020. “That is why we are getting cases for the year 2019 and year 2020 simultaneously,” he added.
EOC National Coordinator Dr Rana Safdar, while speaking to Dawn, said that four more cases were confirmed on Saturday.
He said that the immunity gap that emerged across Pakistan in 2019 should be plugged through three nationwide polio campaigns — one in Dec 2019 and two in February and April 2020 and two calculated response rounds in January and March.
“The efforts would lead to significant drop in pace of new cases by mid-2020 setting the stage for our further push on virus towards zero polio. The programme expects support from all segments of society and requests every Pakistani to assume the role of Sehat Muhafiz for vaccinating their own children as well as those around them,” Dr Safdar said.
Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2020