ISLAMABAD: Despite the drastic decline in the number of polio cases recorded in Pakistan, the reappearance of the poliovirus in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), a low-risk area, necessitated the need for a special focus on the remote villages to make Pakistan a polio-free country.
Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq took a strong notice of the reappearance of the polio virus and directed a thorough investigation into a case of polio reported in Diamir district of GB.
“The reappearance of the poliovirus in Gilgit-Baltistan indicates that the virus is under intense pressure with the programmatic improvements in high-risk districts and core reservoirs,” she added.
To date, the number of polio cases recorded in Pakistan is the lowest ever with 20 cases reported in 2016 against 54 cases in 2015 and 306 in 2014.
“We have immediately launched an investigation to find out more details so that we can respond adequately to protect other children in the community. The National EOC Rapid Response Team is on the ground to support the district teams of Diamir and Gilgit for a strong case response round starting next week. Far-flung villages will be given special focus in the campaign. A second case respond targeting 7 districts will then follow in two weeks”, she said.
Despite reporting of two cases, start of 2017 compares well with 2016 when by this date 7 cases were reported: 3 each from KP and Sindh and 1 from Balochistan, indicating that eradication efforts have begun to close the immunity gaps and the programme is on track to reach the goal of interrupting the transmission of polio in Pakistan.