Via Dawn.com, a discouraging report: With two more cases, this year’s polio tally surpasses last year’s. Excerpt:
The country has surpassed last year’s polio count of 93 cases as it has recorded three new cases, taking the nationwide tally to 94 so far this year.
Two new cases were confirmed by Polio Virology Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Wednesday. An official of the Prime Minister’s Monitoring and Coordination Cell for Polio said one of the cases had been reported from Peshawar and the other from Khyber Agency.
Six-month-old Habiba, a resident of Sheikh Mohammadi union council of Peshawar tehsil, is showing early signs of paralysis.
The second victim is 14-momth-old Hajira, of Zakha Khel village, Bara tehsil in Khyber Agency.
On Tuesday, the NIH confirmed the first case from rural Sindh this year when it came to the fore that 21-month-old Rehmatullah, of Haji Dad Mohammad Brohi village, Sethar Pir union council, Sanghar district, was having onset of paralysis.
According to an official of the polio cell, this year 70 cases have been reported from Fata (55 from North Waziristan, five from South Waziristan, eight from Khyber Agency and two from Frontier Region Bannu) 16 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including six from Peshawar, nine from Bannu and one from Mardan, eight from Sindh with seven of them from Karachi (including one each from Baldia, Orangi, Site and Landhi and three from Gadap). Not a single case has been reported from Punjab.
“In Afghanistan only seven polio cases have been recorded this year and, according to DNA reports, the viruses have been transferred there from Pakistan,” he said.
Two of the newly-confirmed cases from the KP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) had not received any dose of the vaccines due to refusal by their patents.
Vaccinators say refusal is the main hindrance in the smooth-sailing of the campaigns. Parents cite different reasons for defying vaccination. Some argue that it is a ploy used by the US to render the recipients impotent and infertile while other stay away from vaccination as they regard it against Islam to use medicines for a disease which has not occurred yet.
The federal government, which directly governs Fata, has not been able to ensure vaccination of children there despite calls by United Nations agencies and the KP government. Taliban in North Waziristan Agency banned polio drive in retaliation to US drone strike in June last year. There has been no effort to get the ban lifted.
Of about 90,000 under-five children living in the agency, authorities have not been able to vaccinate 300,000.
Thirty-two people have been killed and 38 others injured in attacks on polio teams since Dec 2012.