ISLAMABAD: The num­ber of reported cases of poli­o­virus this year inc­reased to four on Saturday after a toddler was found infected with the crippling disease.

The development signifies the challenge that lays ahead for the new head of the polio eradication programme who was appo­inted on Saturday.

A document available with Dawn showed the victim was a 30-month-old child hailing from Bhirkan Union Council in Lakhi tehsil, Shikarpur.

This was the first case to be reported from Sindh, as the previous three victims belong to Balochistan.

According to the National Institute of Health in Islamabad, the newest case was also of the Type-1 Wild Poliovirus (WPV1), just like the previous three cases.

The child was taken to a hospital after he suddenly developed weakness in both lower limbs and could not hold his neck up.

He has been administered with several Oral Polio Vaccines during previous immunisation campaigns, but authorities are verifying the claim.

PM’s coordinator on National Health Services Dr Malik Mukhtar Bharat said team have been deployed to conduct a full case investigation.

Meanwhile, the Mini­stry of National Health Services has appointed Muhammad Anwarul Haq, the ministry’s joint secretary as the coordinator of the Natio­nal Emer­gency Operation Center for Polio Eradication.

He will replace Dr Shahzad Baig, who resigned on Friday, citing personal reasons.

New vaccination drive

A new campaign to vaccinate over 16.5 million children under the age of five in 66 districts will be launched on Monday.

The drive, planned ahead of the peak travel season of Eidul Azha, will fully cover 36 districts and partially 30 districts.

These areas included Islamabad, 20 districts of Balochistan, 23 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 16 of Sindh and six of Punjab.

This will be the fifth polio vaccination campaign of this year.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2024

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