On 16 September, the Polio Lab at Pakistan’s National Institute of Health confirmed a case of polio paralysis in an 18-month-old baby girl. Her name is R*, and she is Pakistan ‘s third patient with wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) this year, and the third to emerge from the same place: Bakakhel union council, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ‘s Bannu district. All three children were confirmed to be “zero-dose” – unreached with even the first dose of their basic childhood vaccines.
Polio ‘s stronghold
The southern Khyber Pakhthunkhwa (KP) region is known to workers from the national polio programme to be a hotspot of vaccine resistance. It ‘s also seen no fewer than 120 cases of wild polio over the last five years – nearly half the nationwide caseload for the same period.