Home Latest News Health Workers Boycott Anti-Polio Campaign

Health Workers Boycott Anti-Polio Campaign

by Nazar Ul Islam
Farooq Naeem—AFP

Farooq Naeem—AFP

Citing security concerns, 64 workers in Jamrud have refused to participate in the upcoming polio vaccination campaign.

At least 64 employees of Jamrud Tehsil Headquarters Hospital in Khyber Agency have refused to participate in a three-day polio immunization campaign that was scheduled to begin on Saturday, citing security concerns.

“At least 64 employees of Jamrud hospital have refused to participate in the upcoming campaign,” a senior hospital official told Newsweek on condition of anonymity. “They have taken an oath on the Quran that they will not participate in the campaign because their lives are in danger,” he added.

In December, two workers were killed while administering polio vaccines in the Jamrud subdivision of Khyber Agency. Their killers remain at large. Shortly after that incident, the workers boycotted all future campaigns, demanding the government ensure their security.

Responding to their concerns, the political administration negotiated with the workers and attempted to address their concerns, convincing them to end their boycott and participate in the Jan. 11 campaign. While several employees have agreed to start administering the vaccines this week, the boycotting workers claim the conditions remain unsatisfactory and are demanding foolproof security, a compensatory package for families of the deceased and timely payment of all wages.

Polio remains endemic in Pakistan, which recorded at least 72 cases of the disease this year, compared to 58 for all of 2012. Over 50 of these were found in the country’s tribal areas, according to the World Health Organization.

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