mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Disease in Pakistan
Taliban Declares War on Polio Workers

Pakistan’s militancy problem goes beyond persecution of religious minorities. Somehow polio workers have come under the crosshairs of militants, becoming another “soft” target for militants to strike. Just this past weekend four polio workers and six police officers designated to protect them were killed.

Pakistan is one of the only three countries in the world where the disease is still endemic, and the attacks on health workers have crippled their capacity to continue with immunization drives. (It also doesn’t help that polio workers are reportedly paid only about $2.50 a day.)

The Taliban have also outlawed vaccinations from taking place in Pakistan’s tribal areas, the region that the World Health Organization says is most susceptible to the disease. Conspiracy theories have always surrounded polio vaccinations, but they got a boost in popularity when a doctor posed as a polio vaccinator in Abbottabad to collect DNA samples of Osama bin Laden for the CIA (the doctor is currently languishing in prison). Many parents refuse to have their children vaccinated when health workers knock on their door. As a result, reported polio cases have risen by more than half from 58 in 2012 to 91 in 2013, and new cases have reportedly surfaced in Syria that trace to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, India, which had the highest number of polio cases in the world just a decade ago, was recently declared polio-free, without a single case reported.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Fat_Man

    We should give them a Darwin award.

  • TommyTwo

    “Taliban Declares War on Polio Workers”

    Can you blame them? Just look it up: Salk and Sabin were both Jooooos!

    On the plus side, I guess AfPakia will have lower rates of autism.

    Fat_Man: Unfortunately, they are perpetuating polio and thus putting the rest of us at (tiny) risk.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service