25pc pay raise approved for polio workers: official

Published January 28, 2019
A file photo shows a polio worker administering vaccination to a baby.
A file photo shows a polio worker administering vaccination to a baby.

The federal government has increased the remuneration of polio workers by up to 25 per cent in a development that is set to benefit as many as 100,000 personnel, an official told Dawn on Monday.

“The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has decided to increase the daily allowance from Rs400 to Rs500 (by Rs100) in general areas, whereas in hard areas the daily allowance has been increased from Rs750 to Rs850,” head of the National Emergency Operation Centre for Polio, Dr Rana Safdar, said in an interview with Dawn.

He explained that 'hard areas' refers to the mountainous regions of Balochistan and tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern KP, where polio workers have to travel over a dozen kilometres on foot.

“We had submitted a PC-I in the ECNEC, chaired by Minister of Finance Asad Umar, and it was approved," Dr Safdar said, adding that the raise would encourage polio workers and boost their morale.

In addition to terrain-related accessibility issues, polio workers in Pakistan also have to brave threats posed by hostile elements during their anti-polio campaigns.

As per the Emergency Operation Centre's data, 79 incidents — pertaining mostly to threats, intimidation and harassment — were reported by health workers in Balochistan alone during 2018.

Of these, 10 resulted in injuries to workers, with one incident of fatality reported in January 2018, where a community health worker along with her daughter was shot dead during anti-polio campaign in Quetta.

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