Pakistan stands in the way of global eradication of polio and could potentially become the 'last polio reservoir worldwide', the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has warned.
According to UNICEF, 63 polio cases have been detected so far in Pakistan this year, compared to 36 during the same period in 2010.
From five high-risk districts in the province, the virus has now spread to districts that were not infected over the past five years, including Khuzdar, Nushki and Kohlu.
Eradicating polio from Pakistan depends on delivering oral vaccine to each and every child, including the most vulnerable and the hardest-to-reach, UNICEF said in a statement
This massive undertaking can succeed but only with the tireless efforts and commitment of the people of Pakistan, it added.
UNICEF's Regional Director for South Asia, Daniel Toole, who is currently in Pakistan to meet senior government and UN officials, reiterated the agency's commitment to the eradication of polio, and stressed the need for urgently improving local response, vaccination outreach and management and, importantly, accountability for results.
"We must ensure access to all children as specified in the President's National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication in Pakistan. We have a huge task ahead of us, and we must build on lessons learned and act now," the Dawn quoted Toole, as saying.