Polio count reaches all time high with 62nd case reported

Karachi: The latest victim of Polio this year is an eight-months-old girl from Orangi Town, Karachi. She is city’s third victim and sixth in Sindh this year, according to the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio Eradication in Sindh.

“An eight-month-old girl has become the third polio victim in Karachi and sixth in Sindh in 2019. Other affected districts are Hyderabad with two cases of polio and Larkana with one case,” said a spokesman for the EOC.

Zakia Akhtar is identified as a third victim of polio this year, eight months old from Farid Colony of Orangi Town. Officials said polio eradication teams had faced difficulties in 2019 with the total case count now standing at 62 with 46 cases from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, six from Sindh, and five from Balochistan and Punjab each.

However, the national and provincial governments are working hard to turn the situation around in the upcoming season. The EOC spokesman said the child had received polio vaccine under the routine immunization and it was being investigated whether she was administered the vaccine during anti-polio campaigns.

The spokesperson called for the parents to understand that with the poliovirus present in the environment, they must vaccinate every child under five years during every campaign to protect them against polio.

Fundamentalist organizations have continued to claim that the polio vaccine causes sterility in men. In recent months, households have even started to “fake” polio markers at their doorsteps, to avoid interacting with polio workers.

The polio-count this year has reached its highest in years, with only 12 cases documented in 2018, 8 in 2017, and 20 in 2016. In 2015, the annual polio-count was 54, still lower than an almost mid-year count of 62.

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