Islamabad: The government has decided to include polio vaccination on the agenda of dialogue with the Taliban as 90 per cent of the cases during the current year have been reported from Fata where the militants have banned anti-polio campaigns.
This was stated by Minister of State for Health Regulations Saira Afzal Tarar while talking to mediapersons at a function held in connection with the World Polio Day here on Thursday.
It may be noted that Taliban have imposed a ban on polio vaccination campaigns in South and North Waziristan.
The minister said Taliban should understand the fact that children were suffering because of their ban on the polio drives.
She said so far this year 49 cases of polio had been reported in Pakistan — 36 in Fata, three in Punjab, four in Sindh and six in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Polio virus circulation has been restricted to three zones i.e. Fata, Quetta and its neighbouring districts of Qilla Abdullah and Pishin and Karachi’s Gadap Town.”
Ms Tarar said one of the biggest obstacles in the eradication of polio was the lack of consistent access to children in the highest risk areas. She said 260,000 children in North and South Waziristan had not been vaccinated against polio since July 2012.
It may be noted that since July 2012, 24 health workers and policemen protecting them have been killed and 14 others injured in 24 targeted attacks on vaccinators in different parts of the country.