Regional News

Polio cases toll reaches 25 in Pakistan

KARACHI: The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio in Sindh recently confirmed one new polio case from Shikarpur taking the total tally of Sindh to eight and of Pakistan to 25 this year so far.

Spokesperson, EOC Sindh, said a 3-year-old female child is the most recent victim of polio. The child reported with weakness in her left lower limb in the UC Ghari Dakho District Shikarpur. The date of onset for this case was noted to be 11 February 2020. According to the parents, the child had received seven doses of OPV and no IPV. An investigation in the matter is ongoing.

The National EOC and Sindh EOC have started to fight back to get polio eradication back on track and reverse this trend. The first step was the successful December NID, followed by a case response in January and another campaign that was conducted in February.

In Karachi, the February campaign achieved 97.5% coverage, and the overall Sindh campaign achieved above 100% administrative coverage.

Regular campaigns over the next few months will bridge the immunity gap that will hopefully lead to a significant decrease in the intensity of virus transmission in the second half of 2020.

The current risk to our children is very real, and while it is our job to deliver these vaccines at the doorstep, caregivers must also step up and protect their children through vaccinations, said officials.

The National EOC and Sindh EOC urged parents to ensure immunization of their children both in the routine as well as the special campaigns planned by the program in the next few months.

The gap in campaigns last year has left a large immunity gap, and the EOC will regularly hold campaigns to address this gap.

It pains us to witness the rise in polio cases, and it is our mission to turn this situation around and get back on track to save the future generations of Sindh and Pakistan. Certain events in the past year forced us to restructure and temporarily halt our campaigns, which allowed the virus to thrive, they added.

However, we have designed regular high-quality campaigns for 2020 to bounce back, and the December campaign, January case response, and February campaign is a good foundation for that. However, it will take time to see results, and the EOCs are working in emergency mode to speed up the process.

-MN Report

March 6, 2020

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