Polio workers and their supervisors have decided to boycott the upcoming campaign against the disease in Lower Mohmand Agency.
Talking to journalists on Sunday at the Fata Secretariat, the head of the polio campaign staff in Mohmand Agency, Muhammad Khalid, said most workers had not been paid by the government for the last four drives.
When workers visited health department officials to demand their salaries, they were turned away curtly, Khalid alleged.
The campaign supervisor in Ekkaghund tehsil, Siyar Khan, stated if the workers’ salaries are not paid by the end of this month [February], they would boycott upcoming polio drives in the agency.
In the last four campaigns, workers had saved the lives of approximately 87,000 children by immunising them against the deadly disease, said Khan.
Jehanzeb, a polio worker from Safri, said more than 100 workers in the area had decided if the health department’s brusque attitude continued they would not help fight the disease.
“Several workers in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were targeted and killed, but we still weren’t provided any security,” Jehanzeb pointed out.
All campaigns in the last four years were conducted without any security provisions from the political administration and health department, he added. Jehanzeb demanded security arrangements be made to carry out future campaigns.
Amir Nawaz, who had conducted a polio campaign in Prang Ghar, told The Express Tribune the health department had also promised polio workers vehicles and transportation.
“We conducted the entire operation without any transport facilities,” he stated. Nawaz demanded he should be given his salary for the last few campaigns.
“No one will launch the next one unless we are paid by the government,” Nawaz maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2013.
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