On Tuesday, January 21, three Pakistani polio workers were killed in Pakistan’s restive area.
The health workers laid on the street for several minutes before anyone dared try to rescue them.
Polio workers are under constant threat in Pakistan.
On Wednesday, January 22, seven police officers were killed in a bomb attack on a police van taking officers to guard polio workers.
Islamists oppose the regional polio vaccination campaign. They accuse health workers of acting as spies for the U.S. and claim the polio vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile.
Now the disease is spreading across the Middle East thanks to Pakistani Islamists.
Just a few weeks ago, 11-month-old Shaista was pulling herself up, giggling as she took her first wobbly steps with the helping hand of her teenage mother.
Then the polio virus struck and Shaista was no longer able to stand, her legs buckling beneath her weight. Today, her mother cries a lot and wonders what will become of her daughter in Pakistan’s male-dominated society, where a woman’s value is often measured by the quality of her husband…
…Shaista is one of five new polio cases to surface in Pakistan in just the first month of this year. Last year, Pakistan recorded 92 new cases, beating Nigeria and Afghanistan – the only other polio-endemic countries – by almost 2 to 1, the World Health Organization said.
Pakistan’s beleaguered battle to eradicate polio is threatening a global, multi-billion-dollar campaign to wipe out the disease worldwide. Because of Pakistan, the virus is spreading to countries that were previously polio-free, U.N officials say.
“The largest polio virus reservoir of the world,” is in Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, according to WHO…
…Fresh cases of polio – traced through genetic sequencing to the Pakistani strain of the disease – are showing up in countries that were previously polio-free, including Syria and Egypt, as well as in the Gaza Strip, said Ban Khalid al-Dhayi, the spokeswoman for UNICEF in Pakistan. UNICEF is tasked with persuading a reluctant tribal population that lives along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan – perhaps one of the most dangerous places on the planet – to vaccinate their children.
“A lot of countries that spent so much money and resources eradicating polio are worried,” al-Dhayi said in an interview.