240,000 Pakistani children missed polio vaccinations: UNICEF official

ISLAMABAD: As many as 240,000 children could not be administered polio drops under the UN-back polio vaccination campaign because of security concerns in Pakistan’s tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, a top UNICEF official said on Friday.

Health workers have remained unable to immunize children in the North and South Waziristan regions, strongholds of the Taliban strongholds, since July last yer, said Dr. Nima Saeed Abid, acting UNICEF chief for the polio eradication program in Pakistan.

Pakistan along with Afghanistan and Nigeria is one of the few remaining countries where polio is rampant. Up to 58 cases were reported in Pakistan in 2012, down from 198 in 2011.

Abid said 15 health workers have been killed in the anti-polio campaign in Pakistan since July 2012.

Pakistani militant groups oppose the vaccinations and accuse the workers of spying for Washington.

DND

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