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Pakistan’s battle against polio

Pakistan health officials are trying hard to intensify battle against growing polio cases in the country. Despite the government’s efforts several new cases have been found in the tribal border area with Afghanistan, where militant groups are targeting polio workers on regular basis.

The government has organised a conference in Islamabad with leading religious scholars to pursue people to join a polio vaccination campaign. According to the World Health Organisation instruction, no Pakistani can travel outside country without a polio vaccination certificate. Thousands of Pakistani children are at high risk of polio after the killing of several polio workers, most of them were women in Karachi and other different parts of the country. After a well-coordinated attack and killing of several polio vaccination programme workers the UN has stopped vaccination campaign in Pakistan.

Due to the large area and large campaign the government finds it hard to provide security for thousands of workers who are taking part in a polio vaccination campaign. Peshawar is the worst affected city and several new cases of polio reported this year there. Polio female workers, most of them belonging to poor families, are target of recent killings. The government is paying them only Rs250 a day and most of them are not able to risk their lives for such a small sum. 

Khawaja Umer Farooq

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