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Polio threat continues despite 36 rounds of vaccination

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132 polio cases have been found in the country so far.

From MNA Butt

LAHORE, March 26: Despite 36 rounds of anti-polio vaccinations conducted across the country, as many as 132 polio cases have surfaced in Pakistan so far, during the last fifteen months, source at the Punjab health department revealed.

It was said that 93 confirmed cases of polio were reported during the last year with more than fifty originating from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa province. It was learnt that; during the recent three months, 39 confirmed cases of polio have been reported within the country. Out of these reported cases, 33 cases are from FATA, one from Sindh and five from Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, while no case was reported from the Punjab or Balochistan provinces.

It was stated by the sources that; the chiefs of FATA areas were reluctant to administer anti-polio drops, considering the threats against the teams of polio vaccinators and conspiracies against the vaccination programme. Due to the stubborn and violent attitude of the militant organizations, it is not possible for the anti-polio teams to reach out to the far flung areas of KPK particularly in FATA. The  sources said.

It is pertinent to mention here that, many incidents of attacks on vaccinators have been reported in FATA and KPK, in which over 30 vaccinators including 10 policemen were killed. However, it was stated that some proposals were discussed  at a meeting of the Technical Advisors Group. In these meetings, it was proposed to the chiefs managing the Extended Programme of Immunization (EPI) in the FATA areas, that the health department is willing to hand over all the vaccines and campaign materials to the local administration and people of FATA.

This will enable them to conduct anti-polio and other vaccination drives in the province. However, at some places recently, the polio vaccination drives were still being carried out under tight security of the police.

March 31, 2014

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