It was recently reported that a polio worker in Pakistan was shot and killed while he was supporting polio eradication and immunization efforts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. The victim has been identified as Mr Wajid Ali of the Kamali Union Council of Tehsil Haleemzai in Mohmand District.

Afghanistan Pakistan map/Public domain image- Pahari Sahib
Afghanistan Pakistan map/Public domain image- Pahari Sahib

This tragic incident drew condemnation from UN health officials.

“We strongly condemn this and any attack targeting health care staff like Mr Ali, who are working hard to rid the world of polio and other diseases,“ said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.” Health care should never be a target and WHO and our partners will not be deterred by such attacks. We will continue our efforts to work with the Government of Pakistan, UNICEF, and other partners to eradicate polio and ensure the highest possible level of health for all the people of Pakistan.”

There has been nine wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases reported year-to-date–six in Pakistan and three in Afghanistan.

“We are devastated by this tragic news and extend our sincere condolences to Mr Ali’s family and friends,” said Dr Ni’ma Abid, Acting WHO Representative for Pakistan. “The only tribute we can pay to those who have sacrificed their lives to protect Pakistani children from the death and lifelong disability polio brings, is to complete their mission and eradicate polio from Pakistan.”