PESHAWAR, Pakistan: A three-day anti-polio drive has been launched in the restive Khyber tribal region on Monday amid tight security measures.
During the campaign, 128,000 children up to the age of five years will be administered polio drop in Bara, Jamrud and Landi Kotal areas of Khyber agency.
The sources said that 2,400 teams of health workers have been formed to administer polio drops to children while 3,000 security personnel have been assigned the duty to protect polio teams.
However, the polio vaccination drive has reportedly been postponed in Bara tehsil of Khyber agency due to security reasons, depriving 34,000 children to get polio drops.
Pakistan remains one of only three countries in the world where the polio virus is still endemic while the total number of polio cases in the country during the current year has reached 237.
The sources said that every year polio cases in the country were increasing as around 58 cases were reported in 2012, 93 in 2013 and now 237 this year.
In 2014, the highest number of 153 cases has been reported in the volatile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) followed by 48 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 23 in Sindh, 10 in Balochistan and three in Punjab.
The media reports said a couple of days ago that the International Health Regulations (IHR) Committee of the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Pakistan that its citizens would be subjected to global screening if the country did not improve its performance drastically over the next six months.
However, the healthcare authorities in Pakistan seem to be in denial regarding the ultimatum issued by the third IHR emergency committee meeting, held from November 2 to November 7.
The minister for national health services Saira Afzal Tarar said in a statement on Saturday that no new travel regulations were being imposed on Pakistanis, thanks to the government’s “all-out efforts” to stop the spread of polio.