02/18/2020, 09.29
PAKISTAN
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Bomb attack on polio vaccinators: one policeman killed

The hit truck was carrying three security agents. The national polio vaccination campaign started yesterday. 265 thousand health workers are involved and nearly 40 million children under the age of five. Already in the past the Taliban attacked the convoys of doctors.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - One policeman was killed and two others were injured this morning following the explosion of an improvised device detonated when the vehicle carrying them passed, in the city of Dera Ismail Khan. The pickup truck is one of those involved in providing security to health workers who started the national polio vaccination campaign for nearly 40 million Pakistani children yesterday.

Wahid Mahmood, deputy chief of the district police, confirms that the victim was among the agents deployed to ensure the safety of doctors and health personnel, after the convoys were attacked by Taliban in recent years. The Taliban accuse doctors and international organizations  of using the campaign to sterilize children and do espionage. The two injured were transported to the local hospital and their conditions are stable.

The Kulachi area, where the explosion occurred, was cordoned off and closed for transit. Mahmood Khan, chief minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province, condemned the attack and expressed "deep sadness over the policeman's death. Then he added: "We are close to the martyr's family."

Yesterday, door-to-door vaccination of at least 39.6 million children under five years old started in Pakistan after the surge in new cases recorded last year. About 265 thousand medical workers are involved. According to the World Health Organization, the disease is one of the most serious that affects children in the early years of life. The virus in fact attacks the cells of the central nervous system, destroying the nerves, and comes to cause paralysis or death in the most acute cases.

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