Via The News International: Nawaz’s caravan forces anti-polio drive off roads. Excerpt:
The polio vaccination drive in District West of Karachi was called off on Tuesday as the police were busy in protecting the visiting prime minister instead of the anti-polio volunteers.
A three-day polio eradication campaign was launched on November 25 across the city with the target to vaccinate around 2.3 million children below the age of five. On its first day, however, many areas could not be covered owing to inadequate security for the vaccinators.
Successive polio immunisation drives have met severe resistance especially in District West and many vaccinators have been killed or injured in attacks claimed by militants.
Despite the threats, the entire police force of the area was deployed as the security protocol for the prime minister’s visit to Hub and Karachi. The polio vaccinators were left without security to vaccinate around 70,000 to 100,000 children.
Dr Durr-e-Naz, the provincial director of the Extended Programme on Immunisation (EPI), said the vaccination campaign could not be launched because the polio workers had no security. The drive had to be cancelled as the authorities did not want to put the lives of the volunteers at stake. Polio vaccine drops would be administered in the affected areas on Wednesday.