One million Pakistani children miss polio vaccination


Almost one million children were left out of a polio vaccination drive which ended Wednesday, officials said, as unrest and flooding limited access and some parents viewed the campaign as a Western “conspiracy”.
Data obtained by AFP showed that some 998,569 children of the 32 million targeted during the three-day nationwide drive, backed by the government and World Health Organization, were left unvaccinated against the crippling disease.
WHO Senior Coordinator for Polio Vaccination Dr. Elias Durry said the huge number of missed children was a “cause of concern”.
“While we can celebrate the achievement of vaccinating millions of children during every polio campaign, finding and vaccinating the repeatedly missed children should be the top priority of all the polio teams across the country.”
Government health officials said that most of the one million children remained unvaccinated because of access issues, unrest in southwestern Baluchistan province and flooding in many parts of Sindh province.
They added many parents in militancy-hit northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa still view immunisation as a “conspiracy.”
Pakistan is one of only three countries where the highly infectious crippling disease remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.
There have been 30 confirmed cases of polio in Pakistan this year according to the government, 22 of them in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Another polio case reported in KP, toll stands at 18

Another polio case surfaced in a far flung district of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) following which the reported cases in the province during the current year have totalled 18. According to details, a young girl named Fozia hailing from Tor Ghar district was found affected from the virus. Parents of Fozia however, claimed they regularly vaccinated her with anti-polio drops during national polio immunisation campaigns.