80% of polio cases linked to Pashtun community, says minister
KARACHI, Nov 12 (ONline): With the number of polio cases in Pakistan increasing at an alarming rate, Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar on Wednesday claimed that 80 per cent of all cases reported in the country were linked to Pashtun community.
Tarar was addressing a polio meeting held in Karachi chaired by the Sindh chief secretary.
According to media reports while urging concerned authorities to report accurate data in order to effectively combat the crippling disease, the health minister alleged that district health officers provide inaccurate information.
“We will have to tell the truth regarding polio otherwise how will we fight the disease,” Tarar questioned.
“The rise in the number of polio cases has given Pakistan a bad name worldwide,” she continued.
Referring to the polio immunisation campaign in Sindh, the health minister said that in some districts of the province only 29% of the campaign was completed while in others only 4% was completed.
“We have to improve our surveillance and DCOs should report to the chief secretary,” she added.
Further, while speaking at the meeting, the chief secretary claimed that the number of parents refusing to immunise their children against polio has increased.
“Forty-two per cent of all households refused to get their children immunised,” he said.
The chief secretary added that 11 districts in Sindh were declared sensitive and army will be deployed to provide security to vaccinators.
He added that more than 13.2 million children in Pakistan have been vaccinated against polio between June and September this year by the UAE government as part of a campaign set up on the directives of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.