ISLAMABAD: Another child has been infected with poliovirus in North Waziris­tan tribal district, making it the third such case reported in the country this year.

The case was confirmed by the Pakistan National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The one-year-old boy from Miramshah is said to be in the early stages of paralysis.

Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel said every polio case is a tragedy. “Another child will live with lifelong physical disabilities because of this preventable disease. As a nation, we must understand the human cost of not eradicating polio from Pakistan,” he added.

“In the absence of any cure for poliovirus, the only way to protect children from life-long physical disabilities is to vaccinate them in each campaign. Since January, we have taken emergency measures in the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to save children from wild polio and these measures have been further extended and intensified,” he said.

The polio eradication programme has identified six districts in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as high-risk areas. An emergency action plan has been initiated that is allowing the programme to reach more children.

“I am personally monitoring all polio eradication efforts. Recently, I visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the outbreak [of disease] and met families of the affected children. I will now be going to all high-risk areas to oversee [polio reduction] operations on ground,” the minister said.

Health Secretary Aamir Ashraf Khawaja said that after the new polio case was found in North Waziristan, it was feared that there could be more children infected with poliovirus in the area.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2022

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