Health minister says this is the third case from the same union of council of Bannu; urges parents to make sure their children are vaccinated in ongoing nationwide polio drive.
Islamabad, October 3, 2023 – A child has been paralyzed by wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in Bannu, bringing the number of polio cases in Pakistan this year to three.
The Pakistan Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health notified on Tuesday that the affected child is an 18-months-old girl from Ghaura Baka Khel union council of Bannu, who had onset of paralysis on September 13.
Federal Minister for Health Dr Nadeem Jan said: “This child, like all children, deserved to live a healthy and fulfilling life. It is incredibly tragic that now she will have to live with permanent disability from a disease that is entirely preventable.”
He added that all three children paralyzed by poliovirus this year belong to the same UC in Bannu. “We are actively working together with UN partner agencies to improve overall healthcare in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that is polio endemic. We are aggressively working to build immunity, improve nutritional standards and hygiene and sanitation.”
The minister further said that a nationwide polio vaccination campaign is currently underway, parents and caregivers must realize the threat of polio and make sure that their children are vaccinated and protected from this incurable disease.
Federal Health Secretary also urged parents to open their doors for vaccinators and welcome the volunteers who are bringing life-saving vaccine to their doorstep. “As a nation, we must band together and defeat this menace so that we can give our children a polio-free future,” he said.
Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication said no human case has been reported from outside the endemic southern KP region since January 2021 and virus circulation remains contained to this region.
He added: “A detailed case investigation will be launched immediately to identify where the virus came from and to plan immunization responses promptly.”
In 2023, three children have been paralyzed by polio in Pakistan, while 20 cases were reported from Pakistan in 2022 after an outbreak in southern KP.
Note for the Editor:
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free, besides the two endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
For further information, please contact:
Ms Amina Sarwar
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