Pakistan has seen a major fall in polio cases this year, after a military operation has allowed vaccinators to reach areas previously off-limits because of militant attacks. Durry said the main reason for the fall in cases was better access to families in previously unvaccinated areas, where troops have been advancing. Pakistan’s military in June last year launched a ground and air blitz against militant groups in the North Waziristan tribal area, forcing millions of civilians to leave their homes and settle in other districts.
- There have been 24 cases since 1 January, a decline of more than 70% from the same period last year, when there were 84 cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.
- Pakistan is one of three countries worldwide where polio remains endemic, and last year saw a total of 306 cases of the highly infectious, debilitating disease – a 14-year record.
- Rana Muhammad Safdar, a senior official at the Pakistan National Institute of Health , confirmed the WHO data.