Working to eliminate polio and preventing it from crippling young children does not sound like a job that would meet much opposition, let alone be life threatening. But in Pakistan, militant resistance to polio mass vaccination campaigns has claimed the lives of dozens of healthcare workers in the past two years – many of them women.
Polio is a disease in which even one infected child risks the spread of the virus throughout the country as well as the rest of the world.
Pakistan remains the only country in which the disease is endemic and new cases are on the rise. There were 91 new cases reported in 2013 – up from 58 in 2012.
On Jan 20 three young polio workers were shot dead in the country’s southern city of Karachi. They were all in their twenties and earned an equivalent of app. $2.50 a day.
The campaign is currently at a standstill in the city, as security agencies are unable to provide adequate security for people administering the polio vaccine.
Carbonated.TV spoke with a young polio worker, 22-year-old Abrar Khan, about the challenges his job presents and why he chooses to continue working on eradicating the disease.