Islamabad [Pakistan], May 28 (ANI): Two more polio were reported in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, taking the total to six in the country this year.
Cases of more polio infections are suspected to surge as viral circulation is expected to increase from the months of May to September, reported Dawn newspaper.
The two victims who contracted the polio infection include an 18-month-old boy and a girl of the same age. Both are paralyzed for the rest of their lives.
According to Rana Safdar, Director General of Pakistan Ministry of National Health Service, six back to back polio cases were detected in south KP accompanied by sewerage problems, depicting an intense ongoing transmission in the zone, reported Dawn newspaper.
"The situation indicates gaps in our immunity-building efforts during the last campaign season. There are clear challenges in terms of community buy-in for our immunisation efforts, both in terms of routine vaccination and door-to-door campaigns," said Safdar.
Further, Nadeem Jan, an expert on public health said that refusals from parents had made some of the polio workers resort to fake finger marking. Efforts in identifying the polio cases were also not maintained. He insisted the officials should be held accountable for eradicating the virus.
In addition, the Director-General emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough risk assessment afresh, including certain areas of Afghanistan owing to its epidemiological linkage, reported Dawn newspaper.
"A solid response fully backed up by strategic communication and community engagement plan is urgently required. The simultaneous focus must be maintained on essential immunisation as well as supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs). Both Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) and National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) will tackle this challenge together while synchronising efforts with Afghanistan as well," said Safdar.
Further, Abdul Qadir Patel, the Federal Health Minister urged Pakistanis to vaccinate their children, reported Dawn newspaper.
Pakistan detected its first polio case on April 22 after over a year. It is one of two countries, alongside neighbouring Afghanistan, where polio remains endemic, although case numbers have dropped drastically in recent years. (ANI)