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A 10-month child from union council Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan has died after being confirmed with wild polio.

The National Institute of Health reported on Wednesday that the 10-month boy had onset of paralysis on 15 September and suffered from disabilities in his left arm and neck.

He was the third child in the union council confirmed with the paralytic disease and the seventeenth in North Waziristan. Overall, Pakistan has recorded 20 wild polio cases this year.

Partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and representatives of various countries met on Wednesday to discuss the challenges with polio eradication and determine the way forward.

Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel said the children of Pakistan need more support than ever now. “The current humanitarian crisis in the country has increased the risk of wild polio transmission. It is most crucial to support polio eradication now to protect them from further health concerns,” he said.

While the poliovirus has been detected outside southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, it has not paralyzed children elsewhere in the country.

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National Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Dr Shahzad Baig reiterated that while the number of cases has significantly increased this year, they have also been geographically contained. “If we can fight the virus in southern KP, then we can win over polio in Pakistan,” he said.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this disease.