Religious extremist and deep distrust coupled by anti-science sentiment results in health care workers killed trying to save lives in Pakistan.
Four members of a polio vaccination team were killed in an attack by militants in western Pakistan’s Balochistan province on Wednesday, police said.
Attackers on two motorcycles opened fire at the team in the eastern part of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. Two polio workers were killed during the attack, and the two others who were injured died later at a hospital, said Imran Qureshi, a senior police officer.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
This is the next in a long line of violence against polio health workers. Why? Well, distrust and paranoia that the vaccines are a nefarious plot. In 2011, the CIA used a ploy to collect DNA samples of Osama bin Laden’s relatives under the guise of a vaccination program. Damage from this program was WAY more than they expected. In 2012, a Muslim cleric declared a jihad against the vaccination workers. The sentiment has spread to Nigeria where nine women were killed.
After eight people were killed in Pakistan in 2012, the UN temporarily halted the program. Some roadside bombs were defused avoiding more bloodshed but this is far from over. Pakistan remains rife with polio case because of the low vaccination rates.
Pakistani polio worker dead | May 2013.
Anti-vax polio shootings continue in Pakistan | December 2013.
Polio security team killed in Pakistan; Officials march on with immunization drive | January 2014.
Polio workers’ vans hit with roadside bombs in Pakistan | March 2014.