3,70,000 kids may miss Pakistan polio drive due to security problems

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May 27, 2014

Pakistan launches polio drive in tribal belt amid security fears

In this May 20, 2014 photo, a Pakistani health worker gives polio vaccine to a child in Lahore, Pakistan.

May 27, 2014

Pakistan launches polio drive in tribal belt amid security fears

In this May 20, 2014 photo, a Pakistani health worker gives polio vaccine to a child in Lahore, Pakistan.

Lahore, Pakistan: Nearly 3,70,000 children in Pakistan’s tribal region are likely to miss out on a polio vaccination drive as security problems hinders the campaign aimed at eradicating the crippling disease, officials said.

The troubled region comprising seven districts along the Afghan border is the epicenter of Pakistan’s war against the disease which brought international humiliation earlier this month when the WHO imposed travel restrictions on the country.

After the World Health Organization restrictions, from June 1, every Pakistan going abroad will have to produce a certificate of having received anti-polio vaccine.

In May, the WHO declared a global “public health emergency” after new polio cases surfaced in Pakistan. The country is responsible for 80 per cent of polio cases diagnosed around the world this year.

An official told media that over 6,20,000 children are likely to be given the polio medicine during the three-day vaccination drive launched on Monday.

“But 3,69,039 youngsters of North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Mohmand districts will be left out due to deteriorating law and order in these areas,” he said on condition of anonymity.

“Some parts of Khyber will also remain inaccessible.”

Already at least 66 new polio cases, mostly from tribal areas, have been reported in Pakistan in the year. The country is one of three countries along with Nigeria and Afghanistan where polio virus is endemic.

Taliban violence is the prime hurdle against immunization of the kids. The militants allege the vaccine is a conspiracy by the West to sterile Muslims.

Dozens of polio workers have lost their lives in militant attacks on polio vaccinations teams.


Courtesy: PTI