2 new polio cases reported in Pakistan

Total number of polio cases in the country rises to 17 since beginning of 2019.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan confirmed on Thursday that two new cases of polio had emerged in the country, raising the 2019 total to 17.

“Two new polio cases from Karachi and North Waziristan have been confirmed by the National Institution of Health [NIH]” anti-polio program head Babar Atta told Anadolu Agency.

Despite government efforts, polio cases have steadily been increasing in the country.

Some 40 cases have been reported in the country since 2016.

“There are many factors behind the polio virus’s existence in Pakistan, including [a lack of] law and order, attacks on polio [inoculation] teams, gaps between communities, public mistrust, parents refusal to vaccinate their children and the overlooking of some children during anti-polio campaigns ” Atta pointed out.

Pakistan is home of 39.4 million children below the age of five.

On Thursday, the NIH has confirmed another six-month old child had been paralyzed in Karachi due to the family’s refusal to vaccinate.

Atta warned that more cases could emerge in the coming three to four months.

Pakistan is among three countries in the world, including Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio still exists and the country remains under a polio-linked travel restriction imposed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2014, the WHO made it mandatory for all people traveling from Pakistan to carry a polio vaccination certificate.

Armed assailants belonging to militant groups have frequently targeted polio vaccinators and their security details in several parts of Pakistan.

The groups link anti-polio campaigns to anti-Muslim conspiracies, and often issue death threats to vaccinators for administrating the vital shots to children.

According to Pakistani officials, around 90 people associated with the drive have been killed across Pakistan since December 2012.–AA

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