In a shocking development, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 13 new cases of type 2 polio cases. This is the highest number of cases to be reported in the province in one day.
According to the provincial health department, seven of the cases were reported from Khyber tribal district, while one case each was reported from Lakki Marwat, Bannu, Mardan, Nowshera, Bajaur and Lower Dir.
A senior public health specialist told a leading newspaper on condition of anonymity, that several Pakistani health specialists had raised the issues over the polio programme, but “they are either sidelined or kicked out of the programme,” also adding that the reason why the virus spreading so fast is that not every child is being reached in infected areas and the government is missing a lot of children that need to be vaccinated.
“Pakistan has this year reported 25 cVDP2 (type 2) cases, in which Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone had a share of 24,” the report said. Type 2 polio does not cause paralysis but is debilitating. The type 2 virus was eliminated in the country in 2016 and reemerged last year.
In 2019, Pakistan had reported 22 cases of type two polio cases, including 16 from KP. These were apart from type one polio cases in 2020, which are 29 in the country and 15 in KP.
“It is a money-driven programme and huge salaries and incentives are being taken by the consultants at the top level. Unfortunately, some people in the programme are very influential and answerable to none and they set their agenda ignoring local needs and requirements,” he maintained, according to The News.
Another senior official said that after working with the polio programme for many years, he realises that the elimination of polio is not a priority.