First polio case in Pakistan's Waziristan since Taliban ban

A child has contracted polio for the first time in Pakistan's militant-infested tribal belt since the Taliban banned vaccinations a year ago, a UN official said Monday.

"The new case has been detected in North Waziristan where we had been denied access in June last year," the 's senior coordinator for in Pakistan, Elias Durry, told AFP.

Tribesmen in North Waziristan, Pakistan's most notorious stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants, endorsed the Taliban ban and stopped authorities from vaccinating children under a nationwide campaign.

"This has been the first case since we were stopped from vaccinating children in the region last year," Durry said.

The Taliban alleged that the campaign was a cover for espionage.

Efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease have been hampered over the years by local suspicion about vaccines being a plot to sterilise Muslims, particularly in Pakistan's conservative and poorly educated northwest.

"We are worried because this new case comes as an example of a bigger impending outbreak of disease in the region," the WHO official said.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries in the world where the highly infectious, crippling disease remains endemic and infections shot up from a low of 28 in 2005 to almost 200 last year.

Durry said the United Nations and the Pakistani government are working together to reach out to the children in North Waziristan.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fall in polio vaccination refusal cases in Pakistan

Oct 22, 2012

Pakistan has witnessed a sharp drop in the number of families refusing to get their children vaccinated against polio, officials said Monday, while lamenting that nearly half a million children were left unvaccinated.

UN polio suspension hits 22,000 Pakistan children

Aug 02, 2012

Around 22,000 Pakistani children are at risk in Karachi after the World Health Organization suspended polio vaccinations over a spate of bloody shootings, a UN official warned Thursday.

One million Pakistani children miss polio vaccination

Oct 17, 2012

Almost one million Pakistani children were left out of a polio vaccination drive which ended Wednesday, officials said, as unrest and flooding limited access and some parents viewed the campaign as a Western "conspiracy".

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

16 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

16 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments