Via The Express Tribune: Samples discovered: Traces of polio found in city’s drainage lines.
The constant influx of immigrants continues to be a challenge for the health authorities in their struggle to eradicate polio from the city. Traces of the polio virus have been collected twice in the last two months from a drainage line in the city.
“One of the samples, examined by the World Health Organisation in Islamabad, has been traced to strains in Gadap and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK),” said Dr Ghulam Mustafa Abbassi, a district health officer, at a press briefing on Monday.
Abbasi also said that the two samples were collected in April and May and they are waiting for the reports of the second sample. Both of the samples were collected from the Tulsi Das pumping station near Hyder Chowk. Samples from the drainage lines are collected by the health authorities twice a month.
“There is a continuous migration of people from KPK, Fata [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] and Gilgit Baltistan to Hyderabad,” he said. “People of these regions also regularly visit Karachi and other parts of Sindh,” he added, believing this to be the reason for the recurrence of this virus in the drainage system. The district has, however, not seen a single polio case this year.
Meanwhile, the district focal person for the Extended Programme for Immunisation, Dr Sono Khan Bhurgari, said that 561,366 children were vaccinated against measles during a 13-day drive, which ended on May 31. The target of the drive of reaching 582,136 children was not met.
Dr Bhurgari cited a lack of awareness among the parents and reluctance on the children’s part to get vaccinated as the reason. A total of 1,740 fixed centres were established in hospitals, clinics, schools and other government offices around the district. “We used all mediums – the television, radio, newspapers – as well as events such as awareness walks to disseminate information to parents and encourage them to bring their children to the centres,” he said.
Another factor that contributes to the delay in eradicating polio is the underestimation of the children’s population. According to Dr Bhurgari, the figure of the target population of children is based on the 1998 census.