A local community worker who was part of the polio eradication initiative in Pakistan was shot and killed Friday (July 20), three days after a shooting incident in the same town injured two World Health Organization staff members.
Muhammad Ishaq’s death comes days after the campaign was suspended in parts of Gadap town in Karachi. He had worked as a Union Council Polio Worker, helping plan and implement vaccination drives to protect children from the disease.
In a joint statement, WHO and UNICEF said they were deeply saddened by the incident and called Ishaq — with his dedication and diligence to immunize “all children” in Pakistan against polio — a hero.
These violent incidents risk undermining gains made against the disease, which remains endemic in Pakistan. Elias Durry, head of the WHO polio eradication program in Pakistan, said that the decision to resume operations in the concerned areas will be “guided by the investigation and situation analysis by local and security-related administrations.”
Campaign activities in others parts of Karachi, however, have been “successfully conducted and completed,” Durry said.