Pakistan’s polio-free status endangered as first case of 2023 reported

BMGF's delegation arrives in country to review polio eradication efforts
<p>End-polio drive - AFP/FILE</p>

End-polio drive - AFP/FILE

The health ministry of Pakistan has confirmed the country’s first polio case of 2023 as a year-old boy from Bannu district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa became the victim of this crippling disease.

Amid this alarming news, delegations of the French Agency for Development (FAD) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) are in the country to review the polio eradication efforts. The delegation had a meeting with the federal health minister to discuss further social protection and health initiatives.

While the health authorities have issued an alert in anticipation of people travelling from tribal districts to urban areas during Ramazan and Eid. Vaccination campaigns are being planned to begin in tribal districts from April 10, due to security personnel engaged in the digital census.

Also read: Over 21m children to be vaccinated in March during anti-polio drive

The National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) for polio head Dr Shahzad Baig said that they are still trying to determine if the child had been vaccinated or the parents refused vaccination, adding this was the first case of the current year which has been reported after a gap of five months.

“There were seven districts in southern KP, including Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Bannu, South Waziristan, and North Waziristan where the virus is prevalent which needs to be targeted vigorously in the vaccination campaign,” added Dr Shahzad.


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