PESHAWAR       -     The furious poliovirus has left two more children crippled for life as National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad on Friday notified new polio cases from Tehsil Sarai Norang Lakki Marwat taking the total count of polio cases to 61 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year so far. In his comment on reporting of new polio cases from Lakki Marwat, Coordinator Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) KP Abdul Basit said that it was a matter of grave concern and indeed a sad day that two more children are left disabled by poliovirus, says a press release here on Friday.

He said one wild poliovirus has been isolated from stool sample of 15 months and 22 months old male children, resident of village Chandu Khel, UC Kot Kashmir, tehsil Sarai Norgang, District Lakki Marwat. The epidmological study of the children showed that both children were zero dose for essential immunisation while their SIAs history is under investigation. He said that it was unfortunate that polio cases have jumped to 61 in the province with 14 cases from Lakki Marwat and 45 from Bannu division only. Despite the fact that vaccine is available to prevent children from the disease yet parents were not vaccinating their children due to misconceptions and were totally responsible for the disability of children. He said that virus is on fire in southern districts of the province specially in Bannu Division and is circulating in environment hitting any unvaccinated or immune-compromised child. He said only viable solution of the problem is to vaccinate the child in every campaign as only repeated doses can protect the child from permanent disability and stop virus circulation in the environment. Abdul Basit appealed to parents not to pay attention to propaganda and rumours, adding that polio vaccine was completely safe and do not cause any harm upon administration.

Earlier, speaking to members of Provincial Scholars Task Force and district communication officers here Friday at EOC, Coordinator EOC Abdul Basit said religious scholars can play a pivotal role in polio eradication specially in addressing religious misconceptions as people hold them in high regards and follow their sayings.

He said religious scholars can convince refusing parents and help the government achieve the goal of polio-free Pakistan.