GARHI YASIN: A three-member lady health worker polio team was shot at and injured by armed men in Garhi Yasin area of Shikarpur district on Wednesday.

The polio team was working as part of the latest four-day polio vaccination drive launched across the country.

Two lady health workers sustained gunshot injuries, while a third was injured while trying to flee the scene. The injured workers were shifted to Garhi Yasin Hospital.

The armed men were hidden in a forested area and ambushed the workers as they passed by. The polio workers had not been provided with police security, which is standard procedure during polio drives.

Bushra Arain, chair of the lady health workers' association, has called for lady health workers to boycott the ongoing polio drive in Shikarpur district. She also emphasised the need to provide police security for polio workers.

Although the duration of the boycott has not been specified, the drive concludes on Thursday as three days of the four-day polio drive have already passed.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the world which have been transferring the polio virus to each other. The main reason is that the two countries share a 2,500km long border.

Children are vaccinated at legal entry points of the border but since Pakistan is hosting 1.6 million Afghan refugees, a large number of people cross the border illegally from different routes and it is not possible to vaccinate them at the border.

Polio workers have long been targeted in the country due to rumours that the polio immunisation drive is a front for espionage or a conspiracy.

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