PESHAWAR: As many as 142,962 children in the province were missed during the recent anti-polio vaccination drive. The figure makes 2.19% of the total target.
Of all total cases, some 48,544 were refusal cases while other 94,418 were those where children not present at their homes when the anti-polio teams visited.
A report of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Department stated that some 1,129 such cases were reported from Abbottabad, 1,745 in Bajaur, 9,654 in Bannu, 4,998 in Payan, 2,891 in Karak, 1,443 in Khyber, 3,888 in Kohat, 1,026 in Buner, 4,073 in Charsada, 704 in Chitral, 5,895 in DI Khan, 8,672 in Mardan, 4,289 in Nowshera, 52,835 in Peshawar, 6,166 in Swabi, 4,928 in Swat, 4,511 in Tank district.
Some 1,855 children in North Waziristan and 2,280 children in South Waziristan couldn’t be administered during the anti-polio campaign as well.
Meanwhile, no refusal cases were not reported from 15 districts of the province.
According to experts, the challenges against the viral illness have been compounded due to loopholes in the campaign, lack of training, false rumours associating the vaccine to fainting spells — or even that it killed dozens of children, families denying access to children, and above all fake markings on the fingers of children to dodge vaccinators.
This year so far 22 polio cases have been reported in the province.
The data of the provincial health department revealed that last year over a million parents in K-P refused to allow their children to be vaccinated.
The provincial government on September 20 launched a polio immunisation campaign across the province.
K-P Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz kick-started the drive by administering oral vaccine drops to a child.
Dr Niaz had said that during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, conducting an anti-polio campaign was a challenge but they still managed to do it. He had said over 6.4 million children will be administered the oral vaccine.
Over 30,000 health workers were deployed across the province. Strict security measures had also been adopted.
K-P Health Minister Taimur Jhagra in a statement on September 27 had said that first ever comprehensive vaccination drive was conducted in which the no go areas of South Waziristan district were also covered.
In an effort to eliminate the poliovirus, last month, the provincial government also increased the honorarium of anti-polio workers from Rs500 to Rs1,000.