Three-day polio drive kicks off in Charsadda

Published February 16, 2015
A health worker administers polio vaccination to children. — AFP/File
A health worker administers polio vaccination to children. — AFP/File

CHARSADDA: A three-day polio campaign kicked off amid tight security arrangements on Monday in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda district.

According to a source, the drive is aimed at vaccinating 255,000 children across the district.

A total of 675 teams of Lady Health Workers (LHWs) have been designated for the campaign while 146 supervisors will be monitoring the district-wide drive which is to end Wednesday.

As part of the security measures taken up for a smooth execution of the drive, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Charsadda has imposed under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code a ban on the display of weapons and pillion-riding of motorbikes throughout the district.

According to sources, a total of 1,300 police personnel have also been employed to provide security to the polio teams as they carry out the drive.

As per a source, a four-day polio drive was also kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Kohat district on Monday. A total of 640 policemen have been assigned the security of the polio teams.

Militant groups often attack polio teams as they see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage. There are also long running rumours about polio drops causing infertility.

Earlier on Saturday, unknown gunmen opened fire at a vehicle carrying a team of polio workers in Khyber Agency, killing the driver and leaving one polio volunteer injured.

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.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared that Pakistan is responsible for nearly 80 per cent of polio cases reported globally and had imposed strict travel restrictions on Pakistan last year to prevent the possible spread of the polio virus to other countries.

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