Shooting in Pakistan injures expat doctor

Published:  21 Jul at 9 AM
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An expatriate doctor working for the World Health Organisation and a Pakistani national have been fired on by a group of gunmen while taking part in a programme to raise polio vaccination awareness in Karachi. The Ghanaian consultant and his colleague were both wounded in the incident.

According to a statement by the WHO they are in a stable condition and there is no evidence to suggest that the attack was deliberately targeted at the WHO polio eradication efforts. The shooting took place in the town of Gadap on Tuesday.

Pakistan remains one of only three countries in the world were the disease remains endemic. Resistance to vaccinations in some areas is strong because of a high level of distrust. Some militant Islamist groups claim that the vaccination is a plot by the West to sterilise the population.

The distrust of the anti-polio campaign was heightened after CIA operatives used it as a cover to enter Abbottabad, a town in the north of the country, while conducting the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Just prior to the gun attack the Taliban reiterated its ban on all polio immunisation in the tribal north-west of Pakistan. The Taliban has refused to allow vaccination teams in until the US agrees to end its drone strikes in the area. In 2011, according to the WHO, there were 198 reported cases of polio in the country, up from 144 in 2010.

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