Persistent Threat: New Polio Cases in Balochistan

New Polio cases in Balochistan

New Polio Campaign from 25th to 29th March 2024

To deal with new polio cases in Balochistan,a special anti-polio campaign has started in eleven districts of Balochistan from today. The campaign will continue till March 29. 

After 2 cases of polio were reported from Dera Bugti and Chaman in Balochistan, the anti-polio campaign has started in eleven high-risk districts of the province today. Member of the National Assembly elected from the area Wadira Mian Khan Mondrani Bugti inaugurated the special campaign.

In addition to Dera Bugti and Chaman, 8 lakh 89 thousand children of Hub, Lasbela, Nasirabad, Sibi, Jafarabad, Kech, Khuzdar, Aosta Muhammad and Sahabpur will be given polio vaccine.

3 thousand 378 teams will participate in the polio campaign. 2 thousand 641 teams will go door to door and administer polio drops to the children. 306 teams have been deployed at fixed sites and 228 at transit points.

After 2021 in Balochistan, 2 cases of polio this year came from Dera Bugti and Chaman. Balochistan is among the areas where the wild polio virus has not been eradicated yet.

Parents are requested not to ignore the government’s efforts to eradicate polio and the importance of vaccination. Repeated anti-polio campaigns are conducted because the challenge of polio is a healthy future.

New Polio Cases in Balochistan

A few days earlier it was reported that a concerning development reminiscent of past struggles, Balochistan has once again been confronted with the reemergence of polio as new polio cases in Balochistan, had been reported in different districts. Two instances of polio have been reported from the region, marking a setback in the ongoing battle against the crippling disease. The affected areas, Chaman and Dera Bugti, have long been identified as high-risk zones for poliovirus transmission.

Epidemiological Overview of Polio

Over the past decade, polio cases in Balochistan have witnessed fluctuations, with a total of 56 reported cases. While commendable progress was made in 2022 and 2023 with no reported cases, the recent resurgence highlights the fragility of these gains.

Warning Signs and Precautionary Measures

The Emergency Center, entrusted with monitoring and responding to public health emergencies, had already cautioned about the presence of poliovirus in environmental samples from various locations including Quetta, Pashin, Chaman, and Dera Bugti.

In response, extensive vaccination campaigns have been conducted, reaching thousands of children across the province. Understanding the mode of poliovirus transmission is crucial in combatting its spread.

The virus primarily enters the body through the human alimentary tract and can be shed into the environment through fecal matter. In areas lacking sanitation facilities, the risk of viral transmission is significantly heightened.

Importance of Vaccination

Vaccination remains the cornerstone of polio eradication efforts. The oral polio vaccine (OPV) has been instrumental in controlling the spread of the virus, particularly in regions like Balochistan where accessibility to healthcare services can be challenging. It is emphasized that consistent vaccination, especially during campaign periods, is essential in building immunity against poliovirus.

While some children may develop immunity after a few doses of the vaccine, others, particularly those with weakened immune systems, may require multiple doses for adequate protection. Moreover, it is crucial to recognize that even vaccinated individuals can shed the virus in their stool, posing a risk of transmission to unvaccinated individuals.

Community Engagement and Conclusion

In light of these developments, it is imperative for the people of Balochistan to remain vigilant and actively participate in polio vaccination campaigns. The collective effort towards polio eradication is not only a matter of individual health but also a critical step towards securing a healthier future for the entire community.

Since 1994, the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme has been fighting to end the crippling poliovirus in the country. The initiative is driven by up to 339,521 trained and dedicated polio workers, the largest surveillance network in the world, quality data collection and analysis, behavioral change communication, state-of-the-art laboratories, and some of the best epidemiologists and public health experts in Pakistan and the world.

By adhering to vaccination protocols and supporting government initiatives for polio, we can strive towards a polio-free Balochistan and contribute to the global goal of eradicating this debilitating disease once and for all. you can also read about the top 10 stories of Balochistan in 2023 here.

FAQs

Q1. What is polio, and why is it a concern in Balochistan?

it is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to paralysis, primarily affecting children under 5 years of age. New polio cases in Balochistan remain a concern due to sporadic cases despite vaccination efforts.

Q2. How does polio spread, and what are the risk factors in Balochistan?

Poliovirus spreads through the fecal-oral route, mainly in areas with inadequate sanitation. In Balochistan, where sanitation infrastructure is lacking in certain regions, the risk of polio transmission is heightened.

Q.3 What vaccination measures are in place to combat polio in Balochistan?

Vaccination campaigns, particularly using the oral polio vaccine (OPV), are conducted regularly in Balochistan to immunize children against poliovirus. These campaigns are essential for building community immunity and preventing the spread of the disease.

Q.4 Why are some children more susceptible to polio despite vaccination efforts?

While vaccination provides protection against epidemics, some children, particularly those with weakened immune systems, may require multiple doses to develop adequate immunity. Additionally, in areas with ongoing transmission, individuals may still be at risk of infection.

Q.5 How can individuals contribute to the eradication of New polio cases in Balochistan?

Individuals can support polio eradication efforts by ensuring that children receive all recommended doses of the vaccine during vaccination campaigns. Additionally, maintaining good hygiene practices, such as handwashing and proper sanitation, can help prevent the spread of poliovirus in communities.

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