Environmental samples from Peshawar and Hub have tested positive for the wild poliovirus, triggering immediate concern within health circles.
The Pakistan Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH), doubling as the WHO Regional Reference Lab for poliovirus, has identified a genetic link between the virus present in these samples and the poliovirus cluster circulating in Afghanistan.
Uncertainty Surrounds Lahore Sample
While the findings from Peshawar and Hub are conclusive, the investigation into a similar environmental sample from Lahore is still underway. The Ministry of Health views the recurrent virus detection in environmental samples with increasing concern, highlighting the persistent threat of polio that the region faces. This continued presence of the poliovirus is particularly disturbing given the extensive efforts to eradicate the disease.
Health Minister’s Stance: A Call for Nation-Wide Mobilization
Responding to the situation, Health Minister Dr. Nadeem Jan voiced his apprehension and declared the Ministry intends to initiate additional polio immunization drives. Reflecting on Pakistan’s numerous polio campaigns this year, Dr. Jan emphasized that safeguarding children against this crippling virus is a national responsibility shared by all citizens.
He urged the public to embrace their duty by participating wholeheartedly in upcoming anti-polio campaigns. In his appeal, Dr. Jan specifically addressed parents, stressing the importance of administering polio drops to their children during each campaign. He reinforced the government’s commitment to adopting comprehensive measures in the relentless battle to eradicate polio from the nation. The current situation, Dr. Jan implies, requires a unified front where community involvement is as crucial as governmental efforts.