PESHAWAR - Commending the regularisation of their services, Lady Health Workers have asked the government to take foolproof security measures and ensure protection to volunteers while taking part in anti-polio campaign across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Speaking at a news conference here at press club on Friday, Lady Health Workers (LHWs) provincial President, Humaira Shaukat said that polio vaccinators were still facing security threats while taking part in the polio eradication drive across the province. “We have no objection to participate in polio immunization drive in any part of the province, but at least the government should take appropriate security steps to expel any threats to polio vaccinators, she added.

Flanked by other companions, Ms Shaukat said the officials of the law enforcement agencies better know how to devise security plan for the protection of polio vaccinators. Several persons were apparently targeted in the province, but police and other law enforcement agencies were failed to arrest the culprits, he said.

Though volunteers of EPI were still facing threats in certain polio high-risk areas, but even then we are determined to participate in drive if adequate security was provided to them, she vowed.

Ms Shaukat also welcomed the government step to regularize all the LHWs, and claimed that it was made possible due to untiring efforts of the Association.

Explaining objectives of the Association, she said that an LHW would be provided basic training, education, and provision of special package under the platform. It has also decided to extend a sum of Rs 50,000 compensation to an LWHs if killed or injured in line of duty in the province.

She also alleged that certain officials in the Association were took bribe from Lady Health Workers, in the name of regularisation of their services in different parts of the province. The LHWs have also expressed voice concern over the non-payment of salaries for last month, who had performed duties during National Immunization Days (NIDs) in different parts of the province.

Ahmad Nabi from Khyber Agency adds:  Anti-polio campaign was formally inaugurated in Khyber Agency and in this connection a ceremony was held on Friday at civil hospital Jamrud, sub-division of Khyber.

The ceremony was attended among others by Assistant political agent Jamrud, Jahangir Azam, health officials including Agency Surgeon Dr Sameen Shinwari a large numbers of tribal elders, Ullemas, media persons and other segments of the society. Assistant political agent, Jahangir Azam who was the chief guest while speaking on the occasion stressed upon the tribal to join hands with the government to wash out the crippling diseases from area. He asked the parents to administer polio drops to their children below five years to save them from the crippling disease. Negligence on the side of workers will not be tolerated and the guilty will be dealt accordingly.

Agency surgeon Khyber agency Dr Sameen said that the World had controlled the polio disease while Pakistan was among three countries where polio cases were still being reported. He stressed upon all the segments of the society to consider it national motto and play their due role in the up-coming anti- polio campaign to eradicate the disease from the country.

The tribal elites and ullemas extended unconditional support and said that they would leave no stone unturned to make the drive successful. At the end the chief guest administered polio drops to children by formally kicked off the drive.

Sharing the details Dr Sameen said that total 200,163 children below five years have been set target to be vaccinated in the drive. Total 478 mobile, transit and fixed teams have been comprised by the health department to facilitate the tribal, he added. Except 29 areas mostly locates in Tirah valley, all the Khyber agency will be covered in up-coming comapign, he remarked.