Three new polio cases surface in Pakistan on awareness day

 Three more polio cases have surfaced in Pakistan, increasing the number of new cases in the country to a record 220, the WHO said today as countries across the globe observed World Polio Day to raise awareness about the crippling disease.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 25, 2014, 00:19 AM IST

Islamabad: Three more polio cases have surfaced in Pakistan, increasing the number of new cases in the country to a record 220, the WHO said today as countries across the globe observed World Polio Day to raise awareness about the crippling disease.

Most of the 220 cases were detected in the northwestern region which is control by Taliban who have banned immunisations, said Dr Elias Durry, who heads WHO's polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.

Pakistan, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of polio cases globally, faces massive resistance to its anti-polio efforts by Taliban militants, who regularly attack polio workers and their police escorts to discourage immunisation campaigns.

Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, are the only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic.

The number of new cases per year in Pakistan has already surpassed the previous record of 199 in 2001.

Meanwhile, observing the World Polio Day here, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that a comprehensive communication strategy is being evolved which would promote immunisation as the right of every child in Pakistan.

At a function held here to mark the day, Sharif administered polio vaccine drops to children and said his office has recently adopted a polio eradication initiative.