PESHAWAR: A 2-year-old boy has been diagnosed with the crippling polio virus in Khyber Agency’s Landi Kotal area on Wednesday, bringing the total number of such cases in the country this year to 48, according to sources in the Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring Cell.
Pakistan remains one of the only two countries in the world where polio is an endemic but efforts to eradicate the disease remain severely hindered. Militants continue to attack immunisation teams and polio workers, alleging that polio vaccination is a cover for espionage or Western-conspiracy to sterilise Muslims.
According to End Polio Pakistan, 296 polio cases were reported across the country in 2014, compared to only 93 in 2013 and 58 in 2012.
Polio cases had reached a low of 28 in 2005 but the number picked up in 2011 with 198 reported cases.
Despite continued immunisation campaigns across the country, nearly half a million children aged less than five years have never received any vaccine against polio.
Figures compiled by the emergency operations centre of Sindh show that not a single child missed a polio dose in Punjab. In Sindh, more than 75,000 children have never been administered polio drops.
During a three-day polio immunisation drive in KP this September, a total of 5,422 children under the age of five years were supposed to be administered polio drops in 25 districts of the province.
The number of polio cases dropped this year in Fata and all the other provinces. While an overall 75 per cent reduction was recorded during the first eight months of this year, Pakistan still shares over 90pc of the polio cases worldwide.