ISLAMABAD – As our neighboring India has been declared the polio-free country, Pakistan still struggling hard for even conducting anti-polio drives in areas like North Waziristan where four new polio cases were confirmed.
The shocking, yet terrified announcement was made by the National Institute of Health (NIH).
The militancy-hit agency of Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) – North Waziristan – is one of the most riddled areas of Pakistan by terrorism. Due to a strong hold of militant groups, anti-polio drives were never easy to carry on in this agency. The remaining proportion was leveled by factors like Dr Shakil Afridi who believed to be launched a fake polio campaign in order to dig into an alleged hideout of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
“Now militants in those areas are acting against anti-polio drives for coupe of reasons. One, they believe that polio vaccine is against Islam as it contains prohibited (haraam) substances. Second, polio workers are actually spies. Third, revenge of Osama Bin Laden’s death should be taken from these polio workers,” one expert told.
North Waziristan, a FATA’s agency had accounted for 26 of the total 33 cases registered nationwide in 2014 so far.
According to the details regarding four new polio cases, sources in NIH said that all children tested positive for the crippling disease had not received any dose of the oral polio vaccine due to Taliban’s ban on vaccination since June 2012.
The newly-infected children, included Zahid Rehman, Sidra Bibi, Said Rehman and Mohammad Rahim. About 160,000 children are at the risk of contracting the disease in the tribal agency, which had recorded 36 polio cases, the highest by any district or agency of Pakistan’s total 93 cases in 2013.
A total of 29 polio cases have been confirmed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, three in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one in Karachi.