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Gunmen kill official associated with polio programme in Pakistan

Monday, Nov 30, 2015,16:23 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Peshawar | An official associated with polio immunisation programme was shot dead today by motorcycle-borne gunmen in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, police said.

The incident occurred in Swabi district bordering Punjab Province. The District Coordinator for Expanded Program on Immunisation was on his way to office when unknown motorcyclists intercepted his car near Zaida bypass killing him on the spot and injuring his driver, said Javed Iqbal Wazir, District Police Officer in Swabi.

Polio teams have often been attacked in the country by militants who see vaccination campaigns as cover for espionage besides a perception about polio drops causing infertility. Pakistan is one of only three countries along with Afghanistan and Nigeria where the polio virus is still endemic.

Although the number of polio cases in Pakistan during 2015 is reported to be 40 down from 224 during the previous year according to the polio control cell, the country has been struggling to combat the number of refusals it receives, the spread of polio via air and land routes as well as what appears to be the declining quality of the immunisation campaign.