Anti Polio drive begins in northwest Pak amid tight security

A three-day special anti-polio campaign to vaccinate over two lakh children was on Monday launched in Pakistan's restive Bajaur tribal agency amidst tight security to ensure safety of health workers.

PTI| Updated: Sep 29, 2014, 23:43 PM IST

Peshawar: A three-day special anti-polio campaign to vaccinate over two lakh children was on Monday launched in Pakistan's restive Bajaur tribal agency amidst tight security to ensure safety of health workers.

Under the programme, 226,310 children under five years of age would be given an oral vaccine across the agency by a strong contingent of 694 teams comprising 1,600 health workers including volunteers, teachers, officials and supporting staffs, a health department official said.

The security has been tightened in the area in view of the threats to derail global efforts to root out the disease.

Two personnel of Bajaur levies force and two volunteers of peace committees are accompanying medical teams in less sensitive areas while two levies men, two members of village defence committees and two officials of security forces are being deployed with each of the polio team in the most sensitive areas, official said.

According to the official, law and order situation in most areas was favourable for the drive as no threats for the health teams have been reported in any parts of the agency.

No positive case had been reported for the last couple of years and refusal cases had been reduced in the agency during the last drives, he said.

Tribesmen of agency were aware about importance of anti polio drive and now the people of all walks of life particularly tribal elders, religious and political leaders were supporting the health teams in anti polio immunisation campaign, he added.

Latest attack on a polio team killed a levies man protecting the health workers in Damadola area in September 10.

According to the official, at least 1,000 personnel of Bajaur levies force have been deployed at polio teams across the agency.