Pakistan Army protecting anti-polio workers during FATA drive


PESHAWAR – The soldiers of Pakistan Army protecting the anti-polio workers in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) after at least 45 cases of polio-virus have been registered from the region.

According to the details retrieved from the ground-zero sources, the Pakistan Army was deployed to protect the anit-polio workers in Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency as fourth phase of polio vaccination underway.

The health administration of Khyber Agency told PakistanTribe‘s correspondent that the fourth phase of vaccination was initiated on May 4. Administration also confirmed that ever since Pakistan Army was providing them full protection and security.

Under the protective cover of the army and Frontier Corps personnel, the polio workers administered polio vaccines to children less than 10 years of age in the Khyber region’s Malikdin Khel area, which has remained volatile for some time due to militants’ activities.

The administration also sad that each phase has a target of about 75,000 children, adding that they have achieved about 60 per cent of the set target. About 120,000 children have been successfully vaccinated in various parts of Bara so far.

The FATA has so far recorded 45 polio cases, Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa (KPK) nine and Sindh four in 2014. FATA and KPK together are responsible for 93 per cent of the total cases.

Earlier today, Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif ordered to deploy Pakistan Army at border of FATA and settled regions of KPK for better vaccination opportunities.

The poor performance of Pakistan in anti-polio campaign had already earned an international damnation as the World Health Organization (WHO) put travel restrictions on 180 million Pakistanis fearing outspread of polio virus.

WHO included Pakistan along with Cameroon and Syria for being the only three countries that were currently exporting wild polio virus.

The travel ban was long expected but unfortunately the government has not yet sorted out any strategy to meet with the challengedOne senior official at the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC), told PakistanTribe on May 1, “Pakistan has not yet worked on a strategy to deal with the restrictions, if imposed.  There would be a strict visa policy for people who will be travelling from Pakistan or coming in, he explained. It will become difficult for frequent business travelers to get vaccinated during every visit.”

The anti-polio organizations like WHO, UNICEF, the Bill anMelinda Gates Foundation have been supporting Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments to eradicate polio in country. However, there is something not right. PakistanTribe had reported stories where anti-polio programmes like Sehat Ka Insaf have been marred with corruption allegations not from the opposition but also from the internal sources of political party which was running the campaign. PakistanTribe also reported several stories where anti-polio workers were either attacked, abducted or killed.

About the author

Hissan Khan

Hissan Khan is currently working as the Editorial Head of Pakistan Tribe's Islamabad Office. Having work as current affairs host, news analyst and C4D expert, Hissan holds a good command over communication and development strategies.

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