Despite warnings by the media and health experts for the past many months alerting the newly formed government and health department regarding the growing threat of a poliovirus outbreak in the provincial capital, it reported a polio case on Saturday and the health experts were quick to term it the tip of the iceberg.
In a recent report in The News by this correspondent titled “Poliovirus about to break loose in KP” it was stated that official documents suggested the province had seen a major upsurge in the reporting of the Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases and that a major outbreak of polio cases was in the offing.
According to documents of the provincial Health Department, AFP case number EPID KP/30/13/042 Peshawar was confirmed with the presence of poliovirus type 1. The unfortunate child diagnosed with polio was identified as Uzair, son of Dost Mohammad. He is 12 months old and lives in Ijazabad-1, Gulbahar No 4 of Shaheen Muslim Town-1, Peshawar.
His samples were collected on June 30 by the relevant authorities, though officials of the health department claimed parents of the child had refused polio drops and termed polio vaccines as un-Islamic.
Another set of documents also suggest that two areas in Peshawar, Shaheen Muslim Town and Larama, from wherethe World Health Organisation (WHO) has consistently been taking sewage water samples for assessment and reporting positive results, proved the identification of the poliovirus in the sewage water of the city.
“The sewage sample results suggested that Peshawar will definitely report a case sooner or later. Technically, the case is not a surprise at all,” an official of the WHO provincial office told The News on condition of anonymity.
In another development, and confirmed after the release of the Abbottabad Commission report that has fixed the responsibility of the dirty role of Dr Shakeel Afridi on Save the Children and USAID and cast serious doubts on the role of the international donor agencies in the country, health experts now think that restoring public trust and lost credibility of the polio campaign amongst the masses will be a mammoth task.I guess you could say that the children contracting polio in Pakistan (and the polio workers shot dead) are just more collateral damage of the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden.