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Polio campaign suspended after worker killed near Pak-Afghan border

CHAMAN: Authorities have suspended anti-polio campaign in all Union Councils (UCs) of Chaman after sorrowful attack on campaigners by unidentified assailants, killing one female worker in suburban part of the city on Thursday, ARY News reported.

Citing security concerns, anti-polio campaign was suspended for indefinite period following gun attack on a team deployed to vaccinate children in the city.

Babar Bin Atta, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Polio Eradication, confirmed the death of a polio worker.

In his latest tweet, Atta said that the tragic attack was carried out in Sultanzai, a suburban area of Balochistan’s Chaman city close to Pakistan-Afghanistan border, where one female polio worker was martyred.

The official vowed not to rest until the culprits were arrested.

Balochistan home minister, Ziaullah Lango, strongly condemned attack on anti-polio campaigners in Chaman and summoned a report into the incident.

Read More: Vaccination team ‘defeats’ polio virus in Peshawar neighbourhood

The ongoing phase of anti-polio campaign went troublesome in some sensitive parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab as earlier a vaccination team was attacked in Okara.

A case had been registered against attack on polio vaccination team in Haveli Lakha, Okara district.

Reports said that three people had attacked the polio team after it was returning from work in the area. The incident occurred in area Chak Nihal, within the remits of Basirpur area.

According to First Information Report (FIR), the attackers from the village had refused to get their children administered polio drops.

Read More: At least 13,000 parents deny administering anti-polio drops to their children in Punjab

The situation worsened after scandalising of the campaign in Peshawar, more than 13,000 parents had denied administering anti-polio drops to their children in the drive against this crippling disease, in Punjab on April 24.

It is pertinent to mention here that an investigation report of an incident, in which hundreds of reportedly fell sick after being administered anti-polio drops, had come to light on the same day and dismissed all reports as rumour-mongering.

According to Coordinator Emergency Centres for Polio Elevation Program Salman Ghani, the anti-polio drive has suffered serious blow in the province as thousands of parents have refused administering anti-polio drops to their children across Punjab, in the wake of Peshawar Polio drama.

Read More: Investigation finds no child affected by anti-polio vaccines

Peshawar was gripped in panic Monday morning as rumours spread like a wildfire that the anti-polio vaccine had caused children to fall ill and faint in several areas of the city.

On the first day of the campaign 13 million children were administered anti-polio drops, while several refrain and denied the teams following the rumours of Peshawar.

Detailing the number of the parents who denied vaccinating their children during anti-polio campaign city wise, Salman Ghani said 5,600 parents said “no” to polio teams in Rawalpindi.

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