Three polio cases confirmed in September

A report based on reported cases of diseases at 72 government healthcare facilities across Pakistan collected during September 2011

ISLAMABAD, December 7: Three cases of polio were confirmed in September this year – two in Killa Abdullah district in Balochistan and another in Punjab’s Lodhran district, a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report on government healthcare facilities said on Wednesday.

However, the report said there was no case of probable poliomyelitis reported in any of the 72 health offices visited in as many districts.

FAFEN Governance Monitors received health statistics from 26 offices of the Executive District Officer (Health) in Punjab, 17 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 16 in Sindh and 11 in Balochistan, along with the office of the Agency Surgeon Health (ASH) in FR Peshawar and the Health Management Information System in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Among the 1,964,518 cases of diseases reported in the monitored districts, Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs) were the most common, accounting for 45% of the total; a fifth were cases of diarrhea and dysentery, 13% of scabies, 2% of gastroenteritis and 1% of malaria.

As many as 17,975 cases of malaria were reported in 21 districts with nine in KP reporting nearly three fifths (58%) of these. On the other hand, districts in Punjab reported the lowest numbers (183), barring FR Peshawar where 30 cases were reported. Sindh and Balochistan had 4,726 and 2,478 cases respectively.

Just as it was in previous months, districts monitored in Punjab reported 58% of the total diseases in September. Over a quarter (28%) of all reported diseases among the monitored districts were in Sindh. Districts in KP accounted for 10% of all reported diseases, making it the third most disease-affected province in the reporting month. In Balochistan, a total of 57,918 cases of diseases were reported in 11 districts, making it the fourth most disease-hit region.

The ICT was fifth with 2,468 cases being reported. In FR Peshawar, there were 568 cases.

Apart from actual incidence of diseases, the proportion of cases reported from each region depends on outreach, willingness of the health offices to share information, and population levels. In this light, higher number of diseases reported in a region does not necessarily reflect poorer health, but possibly better reportage, greater population or more monitored health offices.

Among the 10 districts reporting the highest number of diseases, ARIs, diarrhea and dysentery, and scabies were reported frequently. However, no cases of polio, suspected AIDs, measles and tetanus were reported in any of these districts.

Badin had the most diseases among all districts monitored as 141,411 cases were reported. There were no cases of ARIs. More than half (53%) of the total diseases reported in this district were ‘other diseases’. Rajanpur in Punjab was in second place as the most disease- affected with 95,715 cases being recorded, of which 78% were other diseases. Gujranwala district, also in Punjab had 82,889 cases, and ranked third.

ARIs accounted for 64% of all reported cases of diseases in Gujranwala. In September, 124 cases of maternal mortality were recorded in 29 districts. As many as 1,674 infants died before reaching the age of 12 months in 26 districts nationwide. There were 367 cases of child mortality reported in nine districts.