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December 6, 2019

Children fall victim to polio virus in Larkana, DI Khan and Lakki Marwat


December 6, 2019

KARACHI: The Polio Eradication Initiative officials on Wednesday confirmed that three more children have been crippled by the Wild Polio Virus 1 in the country, including one each in Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat and Larkana, raising the total number of children handicapped by the resurgent virus in the current year to 94.

“A nine-month-old child from the Tehsil Dokri, UC Karani of Larkana, identified as Hasnain Munawar, was affected by the Wild Polio Virus 1, raising the total polio cases in Sindh to 14,” an official of the National Emergency Operation Center (EOC) told The News on Wednesday. Similarly, the official said, an 18-month-old child from the Parova of Dera Ismail Khan who had received several doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) drops was also found affected with polio virus due to weak immunity. A 4-month-old boy from Lakki Marwat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, became another victim of polio virus but he was never vaccinated before. The officials of the Initiative confirmed that with these three new cases, the number of children affected by the crippling disease had alarmingly risen to 94 across Pakistan.

Talking about the highly contaminated environment of Sindh and particularly that of Karachi, the EOC officials said these conditions are especially conducive to growth of pathogenic agents of all types, including polio.

He said the polio virus is present in Karachi and other parts of Sindh and serious measures must be undertaken before it turns into a full blown uncontrollable crisis. “The only way of turning those positive samples negative and saving children from polio is through repeated OPV vaccinations. There will be regular campaigns from December to June and we must reach the maximum amount of children to eradicate the polio virus,” the official emphasised.

For some strange reasons, the polio vaccination was suspended countrywide in June 2019 for five months, which resulted in the disastrous resurgence of Wild Polio Virus that quickly claimed victims turning them handicapped for life and bringing bad publicity to the country. According to polio eradication officials, the campaign was suspended due the failure of the coverage of missing children.

The Polio eradication initiative officials said a vaccination drive will now resume from December 16, 2019 in the country including Karachi.

In Karachi, more than 2.3 million children of under-five years of age in all six districts of the city will be administered polio drops during an anti-polio campaign. The campaign will continue for a week across the six districts of Karachi. The WHO officials said it was decided to renew the strategic plan to motivate parents to the importance of the anti-polio campaign. The parents would be individually convinced to cooperate and allow access to their children to have polio drops. The Technical Committee of WHO wanted to train the polio teams and make a comprehensive plan to involve area based community leaders.

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