Via Dawn.com: Karachi records sixth polio case. Excerpt:
KARACHI: With travel restrictions imposed by the World Health Organisation on Pakistan to check the spread of the poliovirus just a day away from being implemented, another polio case was detected in the city on Thursday.
A 30-month-old girl, Malala, daughter of Nazeeruddin, is the sixth victim of the crippling viral disease the health authorities have confirmed in the city this year.
Sources in the expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) said her stool samples had been sent to the National Institute of Health in the beginning of this month.
The Prime Minister’s Polio Cell has corroborated the fact.
Like many other children inflicted with the polio virus in the past, the girl, too, missed out on the past polio campaigns because of refusals by her family.
Officials said the victim belonged to a family that lived in union council-9, Kunwari Colony of the SITE Town.
“Her family did not allow her to be administered a single booster during our frequent campaigns, like a 20-month-old girl of Sultanabad (Gadap) who had the same fate two weeks ago,” said a senior official.
Officials in the city and provincial health departments were extremely disturbed by the frequency polio cases surfaced in a city which had remained polio free in 2012. “This is extremely frightening. Here we are taking every measure and risks to save our children, but sadly their own parents are hosting the lethal virus,” said an official.
Of the six polio cases detected so far in the city, three were reported in Gadap alone, while one each belonged to Baldia, Orangi and SITE.
Officials said the family had relocated to Karachi from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) some years ago and the girl was born in Karachi.
Investigations are on whether the family had visited the tribal badlands in the recent past. Officials, however, shared past records that the family was among those who turned down the volunteers’ request for inoculating their children.
The fact that four out of six children detected with the polio virus so far are female raises the question whether the girls are discriminated against in vaccination. However, an official said: “Perhaps, this is not the issue. The families who refuse to immunise their children for polio do it for every child irrespective of their gender. A higher ratio of girl child is just coincidental.”
The vaccination has attained even more importance in the wake of the travel restrictions imposed by the World Health Organisation on the country for its staggeringly high contribution to the polio cases recorded globally this year.