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Security Concerns Hampering Polio Eradication Efforts In Pakistan

Al Jazeera examines how “security concerns and negotiated access” are threatening Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts, writing, “Since July 2012, 31 people have been killed in Taliban-led attacks on anti-polio campaigners in Pakistan.” The news service notes, “Most recently, two policemen providing security to polio vaccinators in Swabi were killed when gunmen on a motorbike attacked them,” adding, “In a separate incident, unidentified gunmen opened fire on polio workers in Peshawar, killing one.” “The good news is that there have been no cases from [Pakistan’s western province of] Baluchistan, and the polio epidemic is now confined to certain pockets. The bad news is the polio [vaccine] ban in certain areas, the killing of the workers and the lack of access that leads to missed children,” Elias Durry, the head of the WHO’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative, told Al Jazeera, according to the news service (Jawaid, 12/17).