Now or never: Governor reaffirms importance of polio-eradication

Published: January 3, 2014
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Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shaukatullah Khan. PHOTO: APP

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shaukatullah Khan. PHOTO: APP

PESHAWAR: In a bid to reinforce the fight against polio, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shaukatullah Khan on Thursday said families of polio workers slain while performing their duty will be compensated with Rs1 million each.

While speaking during a meeting at the FATA Secretariat, the governor praised the role of vaccinators who risk their lives to administer anti-polio drops, adding any lethargy on their part will not be tolerated. Khan said tribal elders and militants who are an impediment to polio eradication need to be convinced of the consequences of their actions on future generations.

“If polio eradication is not handled on war-footing, Hajj and Umrah may be banned for Pakistanis along with travel elsewhere,” warned Khan. Members of various health departments of the province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) along with political representatives were present at the meeting.

Khan praised the role of Maulana Samiul Haq and Fazlur Rehman for promoting the cause of polio eradication in the tribal belt.

The number of polio cases recorded in Pakistan in 2013 was 85, 60 of which were reported from Fata. According to health officials, the ban on polio vaccination by Taliban in North and South Waziristan has deprived over 262,000 children of the crucial drops.

India has become the first country to impose international travel restrictions on Pakistan by stating that no citizen, regardless of age, would be allowed to enter India without valid proof of polio vaccination from a WHO-certified hospital six weeks prior to their intended travel. The restriction is set to be put into place from January 30, 2014.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2014.

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