New polio case emerges in Pakistan despite truce with local militants

July 21st, 2008 - 3:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban

London, July 21 (ANI): A report by the BBC has quoted Pakistani health officials as saying that they have recorded a new case of polio in Swat district, despite local militants pledging not to resist vaccinations.

Pakistan is one of the few countries where polio still exists; with a fourth of the new polio cases in the country this year from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where Swat is located.

Now, according to BBC News, Tanzeela Bibi, a seven-year-old girl, tested positive for polio, taking the number of new cases in Pakistan this year to 16.

Officials have said that Tanzeela had not received any vaccination due to the ongoing military operations and early opposition from the Taliban.

Though militant leaders in Swat have campaigned against polio vaccinations since 2006, in May 2008, they promised not to hamper the vaccination drive.

They made the pledge at the same time as agreeing a peace deal with the government.

But, health officials in Swat alleged that local authorities had failed to assist them in the vaccination drive despite the peace deal. They said that the security situation in the district was responsible for the situation.

In the past, vaccination teams have been beaten up or kidnapped in some of these areas.

The NWFP health department hopes to vaccinate 427,000 children during the current campaign.

Polio has been eradicated from most of the developed world, but new cases are still being reported from Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and India. (ANI)

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