Anti-polio teams attacked in Karachi, Mansehra; 4 killed

Anti-polio teams attacked in Karachi, Mansehra; 4 killed

KARACHI/MANSEHRA: Gunmen killed four health workers taking part in a polio vaccination drive in Karachi and Mansehra on Tuesday, police said, in the latest blow to efforts to stamp out the disease in Pakistan.

After the attacks, the latest in a series of deadly assaults on vaccination teams, the provincial polio workers’ association said it was halting operations across Sindh.

Men on motorbikes opened fire on polio teams in two separate incidents in the Qayyumabad neighbourhood of the city. The attacks came just days after the World Health Organisation warned that Peshawar was the world’s “largest reservoir” of the polio virus.

Meanwhile, minutes after three anti-polio workers were shot dead in Karachi, one campaigner was killed in brutal attack in Mansehra District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Miscreants on a motorbike fired on an anti-polio team in Sher Garh area of Mansehra, killing a male health worker on the spot. Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria. Efforts to eradicate it have been seriously hampered by the deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years.

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Aaj Kal