UNICEF, WHO condemn attacks on polio health workers in Pakistan

UNICEF, WHO Joint Statements: Attacks on polio health workers in Pakistan
19 December 2012 – ISLAMABAD
UNICEF and The World Health Organization join the government and people of Pakistan in condemning the multiple attacks on health workers in the past week.

Those killed or injured, many of whom are women, are among hundreds of thousands of heroes who work selflessly to eradicate polio and provide other health services to children in Pakistan. Such attacks deprive children in Pakistan of their right to basic life-saving health interventions and place them at risk for a disease that causes lifelong disability.

In light of the prevailing security situation, WHO and UNICEF Pakistan are implementing additional security protocols to ensure the safety and security of their polio workers.

UNICEF, WHO and all our partners in Pakistan express our deepest sympathy to the families of the health workers who were killed or injured. We remain committed to supporting the Government and the people of Pakistan in their efforts to rid the country of polio.
http://www.unicef.org/media/media_66901.html

18 December 2012
WHO and UNICEF join the Government of Pakistan and the provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in condemning the multiple attacks that have killed six health workers in the past 24 hours.

At least six people working on a polio vaccination campaign have been reported shot dead in several locations in Pakistan – Gadap, Landi, Baldia and Orangi towns of Karachi city, Sindh Province and Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Those killed were among thousands who work selflessly across Pakistan to eradicate polio.

The Government of Pakistan and the affected provinces have temporarily suspended the vaccination campaign due to concerns over safety of health workers.

Such attacks deprive Pakistan’s most vulnerable populations – especially children – of basic life-saving health interventions. We call on the leaders of the affected communities and everyone concerned to do their utmost to protect health workers and create a secure environment so that we can meet the health needs of the children of Pakista

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that can cause permanent paralysis in a matter of hours. Safe and effective vaccines protect children from the disease. Currently the disease remains endemic in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

WHO, UNICEF and all their partners in Pakistan and globally express their deepest sympathy to the families of the health workers. We remain committed to supporting the Government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan in their efforts to rid the country of polio and other diseases.
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2012/polio_worker_killings_20121218/en/index.html
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UN Condemns deadly attacks on polio workers in Pakistan    
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43799&Cr=polio&Cr1=#.UNY8CqxWKVo