LAHORE: Another polio case has surfaced in Punjab, this time in Ahmedpur East tehsil of Bahawalpur, raising the number of affected children this year in the province to 10, on Friday.
It is the second polio case recorded in Ahmedpur East in 2020. The child belongs to a rural far-flung area whose hands, feet, face and neck have been affected by the paralysing disease. The child, who belongs to a poor family, is stated to be in a critical condition. His father is a labourer.
After the latest case, the number of children contracting the poliovirus in the country in 2020 has reached 74. Moreover, four children have so far died because of the poliovirus in Punjab since January 1. Two of them were from Lahore.
The province-wise distribution of polio cases shows that Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are the most affected regions where 22 cases each have so far been reported this year. Balochistan is the second 22 cases followed by 10 in Punjab.
However, no polio case has so far been reported in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad. In fact, Azad Kashmir and Islamabad have remained polio-free during the last six years since 2015, while Gilgit-Baltistan had one case in 2017. Last year, Pakistan had reported 147 polio cases out of which 93 were from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Hence, this year’s figures show that the situation is improving in the province. But Balochistan is proving to be a worrying sign where 20 cases have been recorded so far against the 12 reported last year.
Meanwhile, Punjab too needs attention. It had two cases in 2015 and one in 2017 with no case reported in 2016 and 2018. But the province recorded 12 cases last year and 10 in the first nine months of 2020.