PESHAWAR: A one-year-old child in North Waziristan was left paralyzed by polio in the third case of the virus from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s district in 2022.
“The detection of Type-1 Wild Poliovirus has been confirmed from the stool specimen of a 12-month-old boy from North Waziristan, KP,” read a statement from the Ministry of Health issued on Sunday. “The boy had onset of paralysis on May 2.”
The provincial Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) confirmed that the child was neither vaccinated against polio, nor he received any doses of essential immunisation.
Pakistan remained polio free for at least 15 months as the last case of the virus was confirmed from Balochistan’s Killa Abdullah on January 27 in 2021 - the only case of polio in the last year.
However, the country lost the war of remaining polio free after two cases of the virus surfaced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s North Waziristan on April 22 and April 30.
Federal Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel lamented the fresh case of polio and said “even a single case of the virus is a huge loss for the country.”
“It is necessary to immunise children against polio to save them from lifetime paralysis,” he said, adding, that efforts to eradicate the virus from the country were being expedited and emergency measures were being taken.
He assured that he was personally monitoring the measures for eradication of the virus.
Earlier, the KP’s EOS confirmed that families had not immunized children against polio during the campaigns instead they used fake finger markings with the help of volunteer polio workers.
KP has 18 high-risk union councils which are comprised of dense, underserved population groups with poor levels of immunization against polio, according to the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme’s assessment.
The federal health secretary, in a statement, said the polio programme has identified six districts of KP sensitive for the spread of the virus, while the health authorities were also suspected more polio cases since the first case of the virus confirmed this year.
In 2022, five cases of polio have been reported across the world so far – three from Pakistan, one from Afghanistan and one from Malawi, an East African country.