Last attempt to eradicate Polio from Baluchistan in tight security

QUETTA: A three-day anti-polio campaign kicked off in Quetta and other districts of Balochistan on Monday morning amidst tight security.Police, levies and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel have been deployed to ensure security of volunteers across the province.Strict security measures have been adopted to avoid occurrence of any untoward incident during the campaign, Coordinator Emergency Operations Cell Dr Syed Saifur Rehman said.Over 6,000 teams have been constituted to ensure provision of the vaccine, Dr Rehman said, adding that a total of 796 fixed teams and 321 transit teams have been established to vaccinate children.Over the course of the three-day drive, around 2.5m children under five-years-old will be administered the anti-polio vaccine, Dr Rehman told DawnNews

In 2015, seven polio cases were reported in Balochistan. Most of these cases were reported from Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan.All cases were the result of refusal to allow vaccine administration by parents, a well-placed officer in the Balochistan Health Department told Neo Tv.Polio workers have long been targeted by militants due to rumours that the polio immunisation drive is a front for espionage or a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims. The rumours have made inhabitants of lesser-developed parts of the country more wary of allowing immunisation.These claims were propagated by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, who stepped up attacks targeting polio immunisation teams after Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to set up a hepatitis immunisation drive as part of efforts to track down Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.


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