Only recently, Pakistan marked one year of being a polio-free country. Polio campaigns all over Pakistan were carried out. Even though no case was reported yet the health workers and related polio eradication organizations worked around the clock to make sure that no such case surfaces. However, this success was short-lived as Pakistan’s first polio case surfaced in 15 months.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries left to get rid of poliovirus. It is said unless the poliovirus is eradicated from these two countries, the children around the world will remain exposed to this risk.
Poliovirus reported case
Previously, in Pakistan type 2 and 3 of wild poliovirus were reported. But this time type 1 of poliovirus (WPV1) has been detected in the North Waziristan of the area. A 15-year-old boy contracted poliovirus leading to paralysis, reported by the Pakistan National polio laboratory at the NIH, Islamabad. To date, there have been three cases of type 1 wild poliovirus reported globally.
Aamir Ashraf, Secretary of Health said “This is, of course, a tragedy for the child and his family and it is also very unfortunate both for Pakistan and polio eradication efforts all over the world. We are disappointed but not deterred.”
He further added, “The case has appeared in Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the poliovirus was detected in the environment late last year and where an emergency action plan is already being implemented.”
Many campaigns and polio eradication projects have been launched in Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but there are still limitations that the polio health workers face. Last year, positive environmental samples of wild poliovirus were found in the area. Dr. Shahzad Baig, coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) said “This validates the program’s concerns about virus circulation in Southern KP and strengthens our resolve to reach every child with the polio vaccine.” He further added, “To address the challenges in Southern K-P, the government and global polio partners had already initiated an emergency action plan to address the challenges in this part of the province.”
The government is working day and night to prevent poliovirus from surfacing again. However, this one case is can put the one-year polio-free record of Pakistan at risk. For keeping this disease away from our children, parents and guardians need to adhere strictly to the poliovirus vaccination and follow the preventive measures. It’s our duty to make sure no more kid has to face such a calamity just because we failed to get them vaccinated because of heresy that the poliovirus jabs are detrimental to the kid’s health.