After detection of 14 hot samples of poliovirus acute flaccid paralyses (AFP) from the troubled North Waziristan and its adjoining areas, the National Institute of Health (NIH) laboratory in Islamabad on Wednesday confirmed the latest polio case from Frontier Region Bannu.
With the fresh case, the total number of polio cases detected in the country reached 25, leaving the officers working for anti-polio campaign in a state of high uncertainty.
According to official documents, copy of which is available with ‘The News’, an 18-month-old child identified as Najibullah, son of Gul Qudullah, was diagnosed with the crippling type 1 of poliovirus in FR Bannu, an area under the control of Fata Health Directorate.
Bannu borders North Waziristan, which is virtually run by the militants who have imposed a ban on the polio campaign a year ago as a mark of protest at the US drone attacks.
“The only reason that the case belongs to FR Bannu is due to the geographical position of the child, otherwise, all signs recommend and suggest that the virus from Waziristan has travelled and paralysed the child,” an officer of the Fata Secretariat told The News.
Meanwhile, poor communication strategies and few realistic awareness building steps in the province are having an adverse effect on the mass acceptance of the polio vaccine amongst the parents.
“The Unicef spent millions of US dollars on the advertising campaign of Shahid Afridi in the province but all it did was to create more confusion among the parents due to the powerful negative propaganda and association of the polio drive with CIA-sponsored Dr Shakil Afridi,” stated an official of the Health Department.