Polio workers in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) will be paid double the wages vaccinators in other provinces get as the provincial government has released an additional Rs407 million for the campaign.
Being part of polio campaigns is possibly one of the deadliest jobs in the province with six vaccinators shot dead since December last year. The government will now be paying Rs250 per day to all workers in addition to the Rs250 paid as daily wages by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“In other provinces, workers only get Rs250 per day, but all members of immunisation teams in K-P will be given Rs500,” said an official of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI).
EPI Deputy Director Dr Janbaz Afridi said the money was allocated by the president last year, but they received it on Wednesday. The money will be given within one week to all those vaccinators who have participated in campaigns since January this year. “This additional amount will encourage people to participate in polio campaigns,” added Dr Afridi.
The federal government, with the help of the WHO, is funding vaccinators in the country through its direct disbursement mechanism (DDM) whereby an ATM card is issued to all workers. Many people, however, had complaints of not getting their salary on time and warned to boycott the campaign because of late or unpaid wages.
All polio campaigns in the province are carried out by permanent employees of the health department with the help of volunteers, who are mostly college and university students.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2013.