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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid