Second poliovirus case reported from North-Waziristan during one week
File Photo: Siddiqullah Reki Baloch during anti polio campaign in the Western outskirts of Quetta: Photo Quetta Voice

A polio survivor fighting back crippling virus in Quetta

Syed Muhammad Yaseen :

Under the prevailing chilly weather, Siddiqullah Reki battles the crippling virus in Quetta’s western outskirts. Trying to catch his breath after every step, he appeared to be committed to eradicating the poliovirus from the province and country.

Being a polio survivor, Mr. Reki knows the difficulties of disabled people in society. “I can feel the pain of polio survivors”, Mr. Reki who had contracted the virus in 1988 said. In every anti-polio campaign, I make efforts to administer polio drops to every child under the age of five years, he mentioned.

Balochistan reported 26 cases of poliovirus during 2020

Balochistan reported 26 cases of the poliovirus during 2020. Most of the cases reported from Quetta, Killa Abdullah, and Pishin districts of Balochistan. As we narrate the story of Siddiqullah Reki, the year 2021’s first anti-polio campaign is underway in all 33 districts of Balochistan.

Siddiqullah is loved by neighbors and the entire village because of his commitment to eradicating the crippling virus. He lives in a mud-walled house located in one of the poor western neighborhoods of Quetta. The area houses people belonging to a lower-middle-class.

Despite all odds, he is part of the anti-polio campaign for last more than five years to eradicate the crippling virus from the country. “Disability has not stopped me from my contribution to society”, Mr. Reki said. He however appeals that his salary should be increased from Rs. 3,800. “We are part of the campaign at the cost of our lives”, he observed.

Villagers praise him for his contributionĀ 

The villagers all praised him for his contribution to promoting education and other social activities. “Siddiqullah has God-gifted skills”, Muhammad Alam, an elder of the village remarked.

“Had my parents been aware of my disability in 1988 they would have provided polio drops to me”, he said as his voice cracks. He termed refusals on the part of parents as the main reason behind an increasing number of polio cases in Balochistan. “Parents must think about the lives of their children”, he stated.

Like Siddiqullah, there is no dearth of committed polio workers battling the crippling virus at the cost of their lives in Balochistan, Pakistan’s areawise the biggest province.


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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.