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January 12, 2019

Another polio case reported in KP

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January 12, 2019

PESHAWAR: The second polio case in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2019 was reported from Bajaur tribal district a day after one was detected in Lakki Marwat. The National Institute of Health isolated the wild polio virus from a stool sample of 30-month child belonging to Sheikhan village in Salarzai tehsil in Bajaur.

The stool sample of the child was collected on December 27 last year to check the presence of polio virus. The laboratory isolated wild polio virus from stools and confirmed it to be a case of polio. It was notified by the National Emergency Operations Centre in Islamabad on Friday.

The total count of polio cases in the newly merged tribal districts during 2018 reached four. It was the sixth case in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The family of the child had moved from Balochistan to Bajaur around a month before the date of onset (when the child got paralyzed because of polio virus).

Earlier, the first polio case of 2019 was reported from Lakki Marwat, the native district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan. According to sources in the KP Health Department, the child named Anam was a 16-month old girl. She is the resident of Bhana Manji Wala village of Lakki Marwat. It is unclear if the child was given anti-polio vaccine. The officials said her father had informed local polio teams in their native town about the child’s illness on December 16, 2018. Her samples were sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad where she was diagnosed as polio victim. Last year Pakistan reported eight polio cases. Some officials said the latest case was from the previous year as samples of the child were collected in 2018. There are numerous irregularities along with reports of massive corruption in different programmes initiated to eliminate polio in Pakistan. The funds mostly donated by the international donor agencies are being misused in unnecessary projects. Also, certain influential people, including some belonging to religious and political groups, have occupied key positions and learnt skills how to continue their jobs. They have developed links with different business groups to make money by ensuring their services are utilized in the anti-polio programmes. “There are some deep rooted issues. For many people the polio programme and the funds coming from overseas present an opportunity to make money,” a former director general health services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told The News on condition of anonymity. He said the real heroes of the polio programme are the vaccinators, the majority of whom are females.

He said they are the worst victims of sheer exploitation. “These are the people who risk their lives by visiting and knocking each and every door. But they are paid very little amount, which isn’t sufficient even to feed their families,” he said.

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