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First polio case in Waziristan since Taliban ban


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—File Photo.
—File Photo.

ISLAMABAD: A child has contracted polio for the first time in Pakistan’s militant-infested tribal belt since the Taliban banned vaccinations a year ago, a UN official said Monday.

“The new case has been detected in North Waziristan where we had been denied access in June last year,” the World Health Organization’s (WHO) senior coordinator for polio eradication in Pakistan, Elias Durry, told AFP.

Tribesmen in North Waziristan, Pakistan’s most notorious stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants, endorsed the Taliban ban and stopped authorities from vaccinating children under a nationwide campaign.

“This has been the first case since we were stopped from vaccinating children in the region last year,” Durry said.

The Taliban alleged that the campaign was a cover for espionage.

Efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease have been hampered over the years by local suspicion about vaccines being a plot to sterilise Muslims, particularly in Pakistan’s conservative and poorly educated northwest.

“We are worried because this new case comes as an example of a bigger impending outbreak of disease in the region,” the WHO official said.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries in the world where the highly infectious, crippling disease remains endemic and infections shot up from a low of 28 in 2005 to almost 200 last year.

Durry said the United Nations and the Pakistani government are working together to reach out to the children in North Waziristan.

Comments (5) Closed

Rajan May 06, 2013 02:07pm

Isn't it a shame?

nasir siddique May 06, 2013 07:06pm

I hope someone can eplxina why that poor child has to live a crippled life when this was so preventable.

How could we possible be going in the right direction when we force our nation into illiteracy by destroying schools and our children to become handicap by denying them vaccinations.

I fail to see why we tolerate since idiots within our country. I seriously question our commitment to our country and look back at our actions that have resulted in the formation of these animals.

Yawar May 06, 2013 09:42pm

For the sake of innocent children, I hope and pray to Allah that our religious scholars publicly condemn the threats from TTP against health workers giving polio vaccinations.

US CENTCOM May 06, 2013 09:44pm


Qaiser Bakhtiari May 06, 2013 10:47pm

Science 1, Theology 0. Enough said.