Islamabad:Polio virus has been found in the sewage water samples collected from Gaddap town Karachi after a gap of about 4 months. Gaddap town is one of the poliovirus reservoirs in the country where a lot of efforts were made over the last 6 months to reach every child during every polio campaign. However, during the last campaign in mid July; all children could not be reached due to deteriorated security situation and incidents targeting polio workers. Sewage samples from Baldia town Karachi also showed presence of poliovirus for the first time this year after 12 samples did not have poliovirus earlier this year. Sewage samples from Sukkur and Hyderabad in Sindh, Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Rawalpindi and Lahore in Punjab have also shown presence of poliovirus in these places.
Pakistan has reported a total of 27 polio cases this year so far; 13 from FATA, 6 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 3 each from Sindh and Punjab and 2 from Balochistan. These polio cases come from 15 districts in the country. It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan’s Augmented National Emergency Action Plan aims at interrupting the poliovirus circulation in the country by the end of this year.
The recent unfortunate facts are the banning of the polio campaigns in North and South Waziristan Agencies depriving more than 200,000 children in these areas of the polio vaccination. This is in addition to Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency which has been inaccessible for vaccination teams since September 2009. It is pertinent to mention that 10 of the 13 polio cases in FATA this year have been reported from Bara. If the recently imposed ban on polio vaccination is not reversed and access in Bara is not gained; the goal of National Emergency Action Plan is at serious risk