The deadlock between political administration officials and polio workers continues as the two failed to reach a consensus on resuming work on polio vaccinations in Khyber Agency.
The meeting, held on Saturday, was also attended by tribal elders.
Khyber Agency Paramedics Association Senior Vice President Khan Mir Mullagori told The Express Tribune workers are not ready to carry out the vaccination campaign at any cost. He said Khyber Agency Political Agent Azam Wazir had called the workers’ strike ‘unjust’ even though Wazir is yet to fulfil their demands of providing “fool-proof” security and compensating families of slain polio workers.
The officials of the political administration did not comment on the meeting.
After Jamrud, the agency’s anti-polio drive suffered another setback when workers refused to conduct a vaccination drive in Landikotal on January 2.
The political administration and health department had decided to launch a campaign in Landikotal on January 6 but postponed it when polio teams in the tehsil cited security concerns.
The spike in such refusals led health authorities to provide basic immunisation training to 200 khasadar officials recently, but they too are reluctant to take part in the campaign because of the associated risks. Khasadars shared this new task was rather perplexing as their actual job is to combat militancy; not vaccinate children.
Meanwhile, according to a notification issued by the FATA Secretariat, Khyber Agency Surgeon Dr Sameen Shinwari has been replaced by Dr Rehman Afridi who was previously at the Landikotal Civil Hospital. Shinwari had applied for a transfer on December 26 last year.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2014.