Following attacks on polio teams in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa earlier this year, vaccination drives are now being conducted amidst tight security. But female workers in Swat have refused to take security personnel with them during the campaigns.
“The district administration has decided to administer polio vaccines amidst security but we do not want police by our side because it makes us more visible and susceptible to attacks. It is better to do our work in a way that makes us less noticeable,” Zareena, a schoolteacher, told The Express Tribune. Many lady health workers (LHW) too have refused to accept security. “We always administer polio drops at our own villages, so we have no threat. Before starting this campaign we decided to take no visible security,” said Zaibunisa, an LHV in Amankot.
Regardless, security forces in Upper Swat closely monitor the anti-polio campaign by appearing in civilian clothes.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2013.