ISLAMABAD: Another polio case was reported in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as a three-day anti-polio campaign began across Sindh and selected districts of Punjab and Balochistan on Monday.
Sources in Health Ministry said that poliovirus had been confirmed in a 1.5-year-old boy in Bannu area of KP, bringing the total number of polio cases in the country to 24 this year.
“The child affected by polio virus, was denied administering anti-polio drops by the teams during the campaign”, the sources said.
The total number for the current year cases has jumped to 24 in Pakistan, out of which, 11 cases were reported in KP, seven in tribal districts and three each in Sindh and Punjab provinces.
Meanwhile, in Sindh, around 5.5 million children under five years of age will be vaccinated against poliovirus during the campaign.
The campaign will continue for a week in all six districts of Karachi while it will end on June 20 in the remaining districts of Sindh.
In Punjab, the anti-polio drive was underway in seven sensitive districts of the province, including Lahore, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rawalpindi, Mianwali, Bhakkar and Sheikhupura.
According to Polio Programme Incharge Salman Ghani, over 4.3 million children will be administered anti-polio vaccine during the campaign.
In Balochistan, more than 1.3 million children up to five years of age will be administered the anti-polio vaccine in 13 districts during the three-day anti-polio campaign.
Pakistan is one of just three countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria that have endemic polio, a once-common childhood virus that can cause paralysis or death.
The country’s success follows an intense programme based around vaccinating vulnerable children.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), polio has been all but wiped out across the world following a sustained vaccination campaign, with only 22 cases reported in 2017 against more than 350,000 in 1988. There is no known cure but the disease can be prevented if children are given multiple treatments with the polio vaccine, said the WHO. While it has virtually eliminated, polio remains a threat to global health because as long as a single child remains infected, the virus can easily be spread into polio-free countries and unimmunised populations, the agency added.