Pakistan is one of two remaining polio endemic countries remaining and in 2015, they saw the most cases of wild poliovirus despite seeing a significant reduction in cases from 2014.
Violence against polio workers is not a new phenomenon. We’ve reported on militant attacks on polio workers as far back as 2012, and last week, we see the violence continues.
In the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta, 15 people were killed outside a polio vaccination centre, primarily police officers guarding the clinic and wounded a another two dozen.
The attacks drew the ire of the United Nations Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon condemned the vicious attacks in a statement saying that nothing justifies terrorism. He urged the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary measures to swiftly bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative said the year 2015 has had fewer cases in fewer places than ever before. It is more important than ever that the momentum gained thus far is maintained in 2016. In order to stop wild poliovirus in 2016, the programme’s focus is now on strengthening surveillance, keeping Africa polio-free and ending transmission in Afghanistan and Pakistan.