ISLAMABAD – The three-day anti-polio drive can be completed across 30 districts of Balochistan despite the attack in Quetta outside a co-ordination centre for the campaign , officials said.

Eradication of polio campaigns have been badly hindered since 2010 by attacks targeting vaccination teams. In the four years after the first incident, 11 health officials were killed in Balochistan in different attacks.

Tight security ensured there was only one attack, in Manshera, last year. Officials said the security forces and health professionals were determined to finish the job.  “Although such attacks upset everyone and lower the morale but we are here to support the teams. They are being provide all the required security” said Saifur Rehman, Provincial coordinator of the Emergency Operations Cell, Balochistan.

The campaign will continue in 30 districts as per the pan.

Initial investigation revealed that the vaccination teams had not suffered any loss of life but that the security personnel had borne the brunt of the attack. Dr Rana Safdar, National Coordinator of Emergency Operation Centre, said the matter had been reviewed and a decision to continue had been made.

The suicide blast in Quetta's Satellite Town killed 14 people, including 12 policemen and one FC worker while 20 injured shifted to the hospital today at noon.

The incident occurred on the third of a three day nationwide vaccination drive. Teams had convened at social security center near the site of the blast where they are briefed for their day-plan and left for their designated areas to administer polio vaccine drops.

About 230,000 health workers in over 100,000 teams take part in frequently held vaccination campaigns as Pakistan enters in critical phase of fight against polio.   In this campaign the teams were given the target to reach out to 36.5 million children to administer 41 million doses.

Pakistan along with the Afghanistan is the only polio endemic country in the world with 52 cases in 2015. To interrupt virus transmission through 5 high quality campaigns during January - May 2016, the National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) has set the target to end poliovirus circulation by May 2016.

But polio eradication faces serious challenges in Pakistan, said an official of World Health Organisation, who is involved in supporting the eradication efforts carried out by the government. “But the government is continuing with the polio campaign in Quetta that indicates utmost resolve of the government of Pakistan to eradicate polio,” the WHO official said.