Polio on the rise: Another case detected in Khyber

PESHAWAR: Another polio case has been reported in an 18-months-old female child from the Akakhel area of Bara in Khyber Agency.
The government’s failure to reach out to unvaccinated children has taken up the total number of polio cases in Khyber to 45.
Khyber Agency has the highest number of reported polio cases after the restive North Waziristan Agency.
Earlier this month, Pakistan broke its 13-year-old record of 199 polio cases with the confirmation of eight more cases on October 3. Official data moreover shows that an overwhelming 96 per cent of polio cases so far reported were found among the Pashto-speaking population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.
According to data exclusively available with Dawn, out of these 96 per cent, residents of North Waziristan Agency's Wazir tribe accounted for 34 per cent of the cases.

Explore — War on polio: Is it all spiraling out of control for Pakistan?

It is pertinent to mention here that earlier in September, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had reported 25 polio cases this year and at least five of them were scientifically proven to have originated in Fata.
Fata, which has never been able to vaccinate its targeted population of around nine million since the global polio eradication initiative began in Pakistan in the mid 1990s, has become a real challenge for the government and UN agencies, which are finding it extremely hard to address the issue of reaching unvaccinated children and tackle vaccination refusal cases.

Pakistan responsible for 80pc polio cases: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Pakistan is responsible for nearly 80 per cent of polio cases reported globally.
“The situation is primarily due to a lack of access to children for vaccination, largely owing to a continuing ban on immunisation imposed by militants in the North and South Waziristan, and insecurity and killing of polio workers in the field,” said a progress report.
“Pakistan remains the greatest single risk to the achievement of global polio eradication. Issues involving children’s access to immunisation and safety of vaccinators must be resolved to ensure that the programme can be completed,” said the report.

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