Another polio case confirmed in Balochistan

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Thursday, 02 July 2015 17:30

QUETTA: Another child fell prey to the crippling polio virus in the capital of Balochistan on Thursday. The latest case was found in a 4-year-old child, who is the resident of Quetta's Pashtoonabad area.

With this new case, the number of polio cases rises to four in Balochistan during the year of 2015.

Refusal was the underlying reason behind the latest polio case in the city. The parents had refused to provide anti-polio drops to the affected child, Dr Syed Saifur Rehman the Coordinator Emergency Operations Balochistan told DawnNews.

"We tried to convince the parents of the affected child but they refused to provide drops", Syed Saif Ur Rehman said. He said religious scholars were also approached to convince the parents in this regard.

Up till now, two cases have been reported in Quetta, one in Loralai and one in Killa Abdullah districts. Health department has declared Quetta, Killa Abdullah and Pishin as high risk districts in terms of polio virus in the province. United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Health Department have also declared 45 union councils as high risk in the aforesaid districts.

In Balochistan, 84 per cent children are not immunised and are prone to various preventable and fatal diseases, data from the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) revealed.

"We have evolved a strategy to eradicate polio virus from high risk union councils", Dr Syed Saifur Rehman stated. Balochistan government has already declared an emergency in the province to eradicate the crippling virus.

However, refusal on the part of some parents and attacks at polio workers and volunteers remain to be the main reasons behind the virus. The Polio campaign is always postponed and suspended owing to security reasons in Quetta.

Around two dozen polio cases were reported from Balochistan last year. The most affected areas in the province include Quetta, Killa Abdullah and Pishin district.

The government has declared a polio emergency throughout the province to root out the crippling virus from the region. But the anti-polio drive in the province has been marred by instances of terrorism, whereby polio health workers have been attacked and killed on numerous occasions.

After an attack late last year that killed four polio workers in Quetta,including three women, volunteers and health workers boycotted the campaign in Balochistan in lieu of security threats.

But WHO, in collaboration with the provincial government, has been resilient in its efforts to drive out the virus from the region. After the deadly attack in Quetta last year, the WHO made clear it will not close down or withdraw its operations in Balochistan or anywhere else in Pakistan.

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