File Photo: A lady health worker administering anti polio drops to a child in Balochistan

Syed Ali Shah:

QUETTA: In a concerning development, Balochistan, reported its first polio case in three years, as confirmed by health department sources. The victim, a two-and-a-half-year-old child hailing from the Dera Bugti district of Balochistan, tested positive for the poliovirus, raising alarms within the province.

First Polio Case Of 2024 Reported

Health department sources disclosed that test samples were collected from the child on February 22, 2024, with subsequent analysis confirming the presence of the debilitating virus. This marks the first polio case reported in Balochistan for the year 2024.

The last recorded instance of polio in Quetta, Balochistan, dates back to February 2021, originating from Qila Abdullah. However, the recent detection signals a reemergence of the virus, highlighting potential gaps in vaccination coverage and surveillance.

Health Department To Launch Campaign From March 24

Disturbingly, health department sources revealed the presence of the poliovirus in environmental samples from Quetta, Balochistan, since August of the preceding year. This discovery starkly contrasts with the two-and-a-half years of poliovirus absence from environmental samples until August 2023, underlining a concerning regression in the region’s eradication efforts.

The Case Serves As A Stark Reminder Of Persistent Challenges

In response to the resurgence, the Health Department announced a targeted polio campaign slated to commence on March 24 across nine districts of Quetta, Balochistan. The initiative aims to swiftly contain the spread of the virus and bolster vaccination efforts within the community.

The reappearance of polio in Quetta, Balochistan, serves as a stark reminder of the persistent challenges faced in eradicating the disease. Authorities are urged to intensify immunization drives and enhance surveillance measures to prevent further outbreaks and safeguard public health.

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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.