islamabad - Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, taking notice of the reported polio case in district of Diamir, has directed to conduct an investigation to determine the cause behind negligence, said an official on Tuesday.

Polio virus was confirmed in a toddler from the district of Diamir, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and according to reports the virus was confirmed in the region after five years.

National Institute of Health (NIH) had also confirmed the virus in the child.

Officials informed The Nation that after confirmation of virus in the child, the concerned health departments were informed about the virus.

According to official, GB administration was asked to take measures to initiate anti-polio campaign in the district.

Senator from the treasury benches Ayesha Raza Farooq, who is also a member of standing committee on National Health & Services, said that the reappearance of poliovirus in GB indicates that the virus is under intense pressure.

Prime Minister’s (PM) Focal Person for Polio Eradication said, “The virus is thus looking for unvaccinated and persistently missed children across the country.”

She said government has launched an investigation to find out more details to respond adequately to protect other children in the community.

Senator also stated that National Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Rapid Response Team is on the ground to support the district teams of Diamir and Gilgit for a strong case response round starting next week.

“Far-flung villages in hard to reach areas will be given special focus. A second case respond targeting seven districts will then follow in two weeks,” she said.

Previously, two polio cases have been reported from GB with one case in 2011 and the other in 2012, and both of these cases were reported from the Diamir district.

The senator also stated that better routine immunization coverage as compared to many other parts of the country, will ensure in turning the region in polio free area.

In country, 20 cases reported in 2016 against 54 cases in 2015 and 306 in 2014. In 2016, in beginning of the year, seven cases were reported; 3 each from KP and Sindh and 1 from Balochistan.

The senator said that this indicates that eradication efforts have begun to close the immunity gaps and the program is on track to reach the goal of interrupting the transmission of polio in Pakistan. 

“Any child with low immunity will be where the virus finds refuge and we need to ensure all our children have completed their routine immunizations and are vaccinated with two polio drops, every time the vaccine is offered,” she said.