News / Asia

    Anti-Polio Campaign Suspended in Pakistan After 8 Murders

    Anti-polio campaign worker Hilal Khan (C), who was shot and badly injured by unidentified gunmen, is treated at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, December 19, 2012.
    Anti-polio campaign worker Hilal Khan (C), who was shot and badly injured by unidentified gunmen, is treated at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, December 19, 2012.
    VOA News
    World health officials have suspended a polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan after a series of attacks left eight polio vaccination volunteers dead.

    The World Health Organization and the United Nations children's agency halted work on the three-day nationwide vaccination campaign Wednesday.

    The decision came after unidentified gunmen opened fire on three vaccination teams scattered across northwestern Pakistan Wednesday.  Earlier in the week, attacks in Peshawar and Karachi killed six people and wounded several others. Pakistan's government has condemned the attacks.

    Polio in Pakistan
    (source World Health Organization)

    • Pakistan is one of three countries that remains polio-endemic
    • Failure to eradicate polio from these remaining strongholds could result in 200,000 new global cases every year within 10 years
    • Pakistan's nationwide eradication program has existed since 1994, but instability and war hampers efforts
    • Polio is highly infectious and can cause total paralysis and even death
    • The virus mainly affects children under five years of age
    UNICEF spokeswoman Sarah Crowe says that they are "deeply saddened" by the deaths and that those killed were local workers.

    "They are truly the unsung heroes of the polio eradication campaign, without a doubt.  There's no way that we would be able to do anything without them.  They are vitally important.  And that's why the work must continue," she said.

    She says that with their help, Pakistan has seen a 70 percent drop in polio cases this year.

    Crowe says the local workers also help to dispel rumors that the vaccination efforts are meant to sterilize Muslims or are dangerous for children.

    • A Pakistani schoolgirl, who was displaced with her family from Pakistan's tribal areas due to fighting between militants and the army, receives a polio vaccine from a health worker in the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, January 31, 2013.
    • Pakistani schoolgirls listen to their teacher, not seen, as a health worker visits their school to give them polio vaccines in the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, January 31, 2013.
    • Pakistani schoolchildren look for their shoes while other enter a classroom as a health worker visits their school to give polio vaccines, in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, January 31, 2013.
    • Pakistani relatives and mourners of a polio worker, who was killed in a roadside bomb, pray next to his body, in Parachinar, Pakistan, January 31, 2013.
    • A policeman stands guard as Neila gives polio vaccine drops to a child at a Christian colony slum in Islamabad, Pakistan, December 20, 2012.
    • A polio worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child in Lahore, Pakstian, December 20, 2012.
    • A policeman accompanies polio workers during their anti-polio drive mission in Lahore, Pakistan, December 20, 2012.
    • A health worker visits Lahore's slums to administer the polio vaccine to infants, Pakistan, December 19, 2012.
    • Nishat gives polio vaccine drops to a girl in Lahore, Pakistan, December 20, 2012.
    • A girl shows a finger marked after being immunized in Lahore, Pakistan, December 19, 2012.

    And while no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Pakistani Taliban have prevented such programs in the past, saying they are a cover for spying.

    The Taliban began voicing opposition to Western-backed health programs after a Pakistani doctor was imprisoned for helping U.S. intelligence agents run a fake hepatitis vaccination program aimed at locating then-fugitive al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

    In July, armed men killed a Pakistani doctor working for the World Health Organization on a national immunization campaign.

    Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries were polio remains endemic.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: pbp'od'human'race from: America
    December 19, 2012 5:13 PM
    ?'s:
    Can the UN Security Ops police the UNICEF Vaccination Program?
    Is stopping the program defeating their mission toward the eradication of the disease?
    Does this mission include the clandestine-like motives as did the 'find Saddam' kind o' motives of earlier campaign?
    Why target the innocent persons helping - the innocent masses, especially if it's (said group) to try making a point of opposing the innocent being used for any clandestine motives?
    Why do said groups & others hide behind the innocent masses to deliver any-kind of violence against its' adversaries?
    Why do I ask so many questions?
    Is this allowed and acceptable as a comment?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora