Pakistan cancels anti-polio campaign following mounting violence
The campaign was scheduled to begin in Karachi and move into the rest of the Sindh Province from February 4-6. Unknown gunmen killed at least four polio workers in December and polio workers have been consistently receiving death threats in the area, according to Dawn.com.
Karachi health officer Dr. Imdadullah Siddiqui said that security personnel were currently occupied assisting election workers in the city and would be unavailable to provide adequate security to healthcare workers.
A case of polio was recently detected in a two-year-old boy living in a cattle colony near Karachi. It is being considered the first case in the area in 1.5 years. The boy was never vaccinated against the illness.
"This family had old misconceptions about polio vaccination and had repeatedly been recorded as a 'refusal' in anti-polio campaigns, the regular vaccination drives as well as special anti-polio campaigns," Dr. Mazhar Khamesani, the director of the Sindh expanded program for immunization, said, Dawn.com reports. "They are willing for vaccination now, but there is no use of it when the boy has been crippled for life."