‘Absolutely no cover-up’: Govt officials denounce The Guardian for ‘incorrect’ article – Pakistan

The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza, and the former coordinator of the prime minister on polio denounced a report published by the British newspaper on Friday. The Guardian, in which the publication had accused Pakistani officials of "covering up" an outbreak of polio.

The report in question, published in The Guardian on November 7, he accused Pakistani officials of "covering up an outbreak of the most dangerous polio strain and planning a covert vaccination program to contain the disease."

According to The Guardian, an outbreak of the P2 strain of the virus allegedly remained hidden from the government, as well as from international health agencies and donors "by order of Babar bin Atta", who was the central person of the prime minister for polio eradication until resigned last month. .

"[In order to] hide his negligence and poor performance, Babar Bin Atta decided not to reveal the cases to anyone " The Guardian He cited an unidentified source as saying. The report also said it was believed that the virus had reappeared because the vaccine to prevent its spread was used incorrectly.

"Somewhere, someone has used this vaccine incorrectly and because of this negligence […] this virus was brought back to the environment and our children are becoming infected with P2 again, "the source said according to the report.

Pakistani officials rushed to correct the record today. "[There has been] absolutely no cover-up, "Dr. Mirza responded to the story in a tweet the present day.

Speaking to Dawn Previously, Dr. Mirza had said that seven new cases of type 2 poliovirus derived from the vaccine had been detected in the country.

"This is not a wild poliovirus outbreak. It is an outbreak of type 2 shunt similar to Sabin (SLT2D) [strain]", said." Similar shoots [of SLT2D] Recently it has been reported in the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and several other African countries that have [otherwise] completely eradicated the poliovirus. "

"The outbreak of the SLT2D virus in Pakistan is being monitored and responding appropriately," he said in a tweet.

There are three serotypes of the wild poliovirus, Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3.

Pakistan has been immunizing against Type 1 and Type 3 viruses through oral polio vaccines (OPV). He had stopped administering vaccines for the Type 2 virus in 2014 after he was believed to have been eradicated. The virus could not be found even in environmental samples since 2016, authorities said.

The Type 2 vaccine was discontinued as it contains samples of the virus that can spread the disease if not used properly.

"However, cases of different areas have suddenly been reported, which means that there was a vial [of Type 2 vaccine] left in some laboratory or elsewhere and began to spread due to human error, "said Dr. Mirza Dawn.

"Right after receiving the cases, which cannot be included in the amount of wild polio virus[caseslike[cases[casoscomo[casesasThe Guardian has alleged]- We sent samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, and after receiving confirmation that the children were paralyzed due to the type 2 polio virus, we have started polio campaigns, "he said. Dr. Mirza

Babar rejects accusations

Separately, Babar rejected the accusations against him, calling them "absolutely baseless". He said he was writing to the British newspaper to make things clear.

"The Guardian The report is absolutely unfounded. I am writing to correct the record and issue an apology, otherwise I will continue with my legal options. I will send relevant documents to @guardian to prove that his report & # 39; He said – She said & # 39; incorrect. Enough of this slander, "he said in a tweet.

In another tweetBabar said that although the journalist, Hannah Ellis-Petersen, was in New Delhi according to her Twitter profile, she had not contacted him to comment on the matter.

He also accused her of "reporting badly [the incidence of] polio virus derived from circulating vaccines (VDPV) as [the] P2 virus. "

The SLT2D strain, which has been found circulating in Pakistan, is a VDPV.

"[The reporter] He did not mention the same VDPV contamination in India 2018; hid the fact that VDPV does not add to [a country’s official] polio case count; did not mention the same strain VDPV [is also] found in [otherwise] polio-free countries, "he said.

Babar also ruled out the accusation that he could have covered up the polio cases, noting that the supervision of the cases is carried out by external agencies over which he has no control.

"[…] Surveillance is an issue of the World Health Organization. What authority does an honorary "Focal Person" have to instruct a United Nations agency? "He asked in a tweet."[The UK] The Department of International Development (DFID) pays the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), not Pakistan directly […] They should have contacted me for a version, I would have educated them. "

Working to improve immunization coverage: PPEP

In an official statement, the Pakistan Polio Eradication Program said that the seven cases of SLT2D poliovirus that had been detected were present "mainly in the northern parts of the country."

"The only way to reduce the risks of increased transmission is to address the gaps in immunization coverage. The program is working on a comprehensive response to the outbreak that includes vaccination rounds in the area to protect all children under the age of five. ".

"The program has also improved its surveillance of acute flaccid paralysis (PFA) by actively seeking additional cases, increasing evidence of case contacts and strengthening environmental surveillance."

During the current year, 80 cases of polio have been reported in Pakistan so far.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1515632/absolutely-no-cover-up-govt-officials-denounce-the-guardian-for-incorrect-article

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