Via The Express Tribune: At their peril: Over 450 parents held for refusing polio drops. Excerpt:
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government proved its determination to eradicate polio by arresting 471 parents who refused vaccine for their children, while authorities have also hired religious scholars to convince families.
The offenders were taken into custody on Monday under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order.
Police said the arrests were ordered by DC Peshawar as polio workers reported those parents who refused oral polio vaccine drops for their children during the campaign last week.
“Arrests have been made in the jurisdictions of Mathra, Mattani, Khazana and Sarband police stations,” a police official told The Express Tribune. More will be taken into custody to force them to vaccinate their children,” he added.
The DC Peshawar’s spokesperson, Jamil Shah, confirmed the detained parents refused to vaccinate their children below five years of age. So far, all those arrested have been sent to Central Jail Peshawar. The spokesman added the civil administration issued warrants to arrest another 1,000 parents and directed police to take them into custody at the earliest.
Shah added such extreme measures were taken to rid the province of polio, a disease that is putting “Pakistan’s image at stake around the globe”.
By the book
The K-P health department sent “religious support persons” to convince parents refusing polio vaccination under Sehat ka Ittehad, a joint venture of the provincial and federal governments.
“These individuals will not be travelling with polio vaccinators from door-to-door,” a health official said, requesting anonymity. “Their job begins when someone refuses to vaccinate their children.”
He said parents were usually convinced when approached by religious scholars. However, those houses that refused were pinpointed and that was when the police department also got involved.
“Our aim is to administer polio drops to children at all cost, whether it is through the influence of religious personalities, local elites or the force of the police,” he said.