Islamabad: Pakistan recently reported the first polio case in the last 15 months. The case was reported in North Waziristan where a 15-month-old body got paralyzed due to the poliovirus. Before this last polio case was reported in January 2021 and earlier this year the country celebrated a year free of wild polio. This is a setback to countries' progress toward a polio-free country.
“This is, of course, a tragedy for the child and his family and it is also very unfortunate both for Pakistan and polio eradication efforts all over the world.” said Aamir Ashraf, a top health ministry official in Islamabad on the current situation.
Polio is an infectious disease that is caused by the poliovirus and is a life-threatening condition. In past years, this infectious condition has affected thousands of people. In 1994, Pakistan launched its Polio Eradication Program which resulted in a massive decline in polio cases across the country.
Just 3 months after the country celebrated a polio-free year, a polio case was reported from North Waziristan. This has increased the number of global polio cases to three in the year 2022. The National polio laboratory has also confirmed the presence of the poliovirus in an environmental concern that is raising concern.
"I feel grieved but determined. This only strengthens our resolve to do more, to keep doing better, and do whatever it takes to ensure that no child ever again is paralyzed by polio." said Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator National Emergency Operations Centre for Pakistan Polio Eradication Program.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries where polio is still endemic. Pakistan’s prime minister will chair an emergency meeting with the national task force on the current situation that will be followed by immunization campaigns to stop the spread of this deadly disease.