Devex Examines Issue Of Security For Polio Workers In Pakistan After 2 More Volunteers Shot Dead

“[S]ome leading figures in Pakistan’s anti-polio drive believe more could have been done by the government to prevent” the murders of two polio vaccine workers killed on Sunday in Swabi district, “the latest in a spate of violence that has a total of 16 aid workers slain so far this year,” Devex writes. “‘We have always been demanding that polio vaccine campaigns should get full security coverage from the government, and it is not enough that they offer a few police officers,’ Aziz Memon, chair of the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative [GPEI], told Devex on Monday,” the news service writes. “Asked if the Pakistani government should do more to boost aid worker security in the South Asian country, [Memon] explained that it is the duty of the government, and not of donors, to protect vaccine workers at risk,” Devex writes. “Donors pledged in April $3.75 billion to eradicate polio globally by 2015, with a special focus on Pakistan,” the news service notes, continuing, “Support With Working Solution CEO Javed Akhter, who saw seven of his 56 aid workers shot dead in January, told Devex on Monday that security support is not available for those working in rural areas like the Swabi district.” The news service adds, “Meanwhile, Memon said that GPEI’s ‘mission to eradicate polio will continue and will not be bogged down by these killings'” (Morden, 6/17).

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