A local community worker in Pakistan was shot and killed in the Gadap town area of Karachi on Friday evening.
Reports say Muhammad Ishaq’s death comes three days after the polio eradication campaign was suspended in parts of Gadap town in Karachi.
Mr. Ishaq worked as a Union Council Polio Worker. He helped plan and implement vaccination drives to protect children from the disease.
Today, the United Nations expressed condemnation of the killing of a local community worker in Pakistan.
In a joint statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said they were deeply saddened by the killing.
The agencies stress that Mr. Ishaq was known for his dedication and diligence to immunize all children against polio.
“WHO, UNICEF and all of the polio partners in Pakistan and globally express their deepest sympathy to his family for this tragic loss.” – WHO, UNICEF
According to the agencies, the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative remain committed to supporting the Government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan in their efforts to eradicate this devastating disease.”
Media reports say polio immunization activities were suspended in the area of Karachi after a shooting incident injured two WHO staff members who were supporting the implementation of the vaccination campaign.
In 2010, there has been a surge in the number of child polio cases reported in Pakistan this year, despite massive immunization campaigns that reached nearly 9 million children.
Pakistan is one of four countries, along with Afghanistan, India and Nigeria, where polio remains endemic.
In October 2011, nearly 300,000 health workers are fanning out across Africa to reach 72 million children as part of a United Nations-backed bid to drive polio out of the continent.
The virus could infect virtually everyone who is not yet immune through vaccination, and there is no cure.
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that can cause permanent paralysis in a matter of hours. There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. Currently the disease remains endemic in only three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.