Two polio workers were beaten with sticks and wounded in Shah Latif town, Khairpur. The attackers fled the scene and are yet to be identified. This incident is unique in the sense that there was no use of firearms unlike several other attacks on polio workers. For their ‘plan’ to work, the attackers had to be in close proximity of the victims in order to attack, and they needed time. Beating someone with sticks requires more time than pulling the trigger. The assailants relied on one thing and one thing alone; absence of security personnel. It is hard to imagine that any security had been provided. One can understand the reluctance of police personnel in a guns vs guns scenario, but against wooden sticks? Surely, they can deal with that provided that they are present.

There have been several other incidents of violence against polio workers in the Sindh province. Most of them have resulted in the loss of life. Can the Sindh government really claim ignorance when the grave risks associated with immunisation campaigns are well-known to all? Instead of increasing security to ensure their safety, the provincial government appears to have completely left them at the mercy of miscreants. It appears that in Khairpur - Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah’s hometown - people can simply walk up to them, beat them and walk away. How can a government, which claims to be concerned about the lives of its citizens, knowingly send health workers alone in harm’s way? What if the victims had been shot and killed? Who would’ve taken responsibility? So far, has anyone in the government been taken to task for life-threatening negligence which allowed the incident to occur?  If this doesn’t scream poor governance and indifference, then what does? Eradicating polio is indeed a difficult task to accomplish, and the chances of success are further diminished due to the incompetence of people in-charge.