Anti-polio campaign suspended in KP

Anti-polio campaign suspended in KP

PESHAWAR: The anti-polio campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been postponed due to security concerns, officials said on Sunday. According to reports, the campaign, which was postponed after attacks on polio worker, will start from next Sunday. Attacks on anti-polio workers are common in terrorism-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and adjoining tribal areas. Most attacks on anti-polio teams have occurred in lawless tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but Karachi has also witnessed such attacks frequently. 
The Pakistani Taliban have repeatedly targeted health workers who are vaccinating children against polio, accusing them of being spies. The violence has seriously hampered the immunisation campaign in Pakistan, which is one of the three countries in the world where polio is endemic. The resistance to polio vaccination by Taliban militants stiffened after the May 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad as revelations surfaced that the Central Intelligence Agency had used a Pakistani doctor, Dr Shakil Afridi, to run a fake vaccination campaign to gain access to Bin Laden’s hideout. Since then, Taliban insurgents have increased their attacks on the vaccination work and issued religious edicts claiming that the United States uses it as a guise to run a spying network. Some people also suspect that the vaccinations aim to sterilise Muslims. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 3.5 million Pakistani children missed out on polio vaccination when over a dozen immunisation workers were shot dead in various parts of the country. WHO in recent days declared Peshawar as “epicentre of polio virus in the world”. 

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