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Five Polio Workers Shot and Killed

The workers were attacked in three different areas of the city

The workers were attacked in three different areas of the city

December 18, 2012 – Five polio vaccination workers, four women and one man, were shot and killed in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan. The five victims had been working with a program sponsored by the United Nations to eradicate polio, which in Pakistan is an endemic.

No one has claimed they carried out the killings, but members of the Taliban have threatened previously against the drive to eradicate polio and the group is active in sections of Karachi. The workers were attacked in three different areas of the city. In addition, in the north west part of the country, near Peshawar, a young teen age girl was  wounded  during an attack on a group of women who were health workers.

Health officials in Pakistan said the most recent nationwide three day drive against polio, during which nearly 5.2 million polio drops were to have been administered, had to be suspended in the city of Karachi because of the attacks on the five workers.

Opposition has existed to the immunization drives in areas of Pakistan, particularly after the fake campaign the CIA carried out dealing with vaccinations for hepatitis helped to find Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Foreigners working for NGOs have been kidnapped and murdered in the past, as militant groups attempt to stop the immunization drives, which they claim are just ways for the U.S. to spy.

Pakistan, along with Nigeria and Afghanistan is one of just three countries worldwide where the disease is still considered an endemic.

Medical experts say that Pakistan is the key battleground against polio globally. The disease attacks the patient’s nervous system causing permanent paralysis within hours of someone being infected.

Close to 200 children suffered paralysis in Pakistan in 2011, marking the worst figures in the country in over 15 years.

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