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LHWs end boycott of polio drive

Bushra Arian, head of the All Pakistan Lady Health Workers Welfare Association, shouts slogans during a protest against the killing of anti-polio drive campaign workers, Dec 19, 2012. — Photo by Reuters/File

HYDERABAD, Dec 28: Lady health workers (LHWs) who have been staging protest demonstrations and rallies in various towns of Sindh to seek adequate security for anti-polio teams in the wake of recent armed attacks on some of them in Karachi, Peshawar and other cities, have reportedly agreed to end their boycott of the special round of the campaign being held on Saturday and Sunday in Hyderabad district.

The district administration claimed that the LHWs had assured them that they would fully take part in the two-day drive after they were assured of security during their talks with Hyderabad Deputy Commissioner Agha Shahnawaz Babar.

Mr Babar later led an anti-polio walk from Shahbaz Building to Pakistan Chowk on Friday.

The walk was largely attended by officials of the health, revenue and civil defence departments, People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI), scouts, representatives of various civil society organisations and a large number of lady health workers.

The DC told the media that polio workers would be provided full security during the two-day drive, adding that police would patrol the areas where the teams would administer polio drops to children in the house-to-house visits.

“Police will also be deployed at fixed polio centres,” he said.

The DC said that all stakeholders had already been taken on board to ensure safety and security of the teams.

He said that LHWs representative Rukhsana Mughal held negotiations with the district administration over the past few days and finally agreed to end a boycott of the campaign over security issues.