In another blatant act of aggression against efforts to eliminate polio from the country, a three-member lady health worker polio team was shot at and injured by armed men in Garhi Yasin area of Shikarpur district. The safety and security of the polio workers should have been a top priority as incidences like these should have been preempted. The polio team was working as part of the latest four-day polio vaccination drive launched across the country, after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif renewed his commitment to the cause very recently.

The polio workers had not been provided with police security, which is standard procedure during polio drives. The provision of police security for polio workers was a bone of contention between the health authorities and the Police in Karachi during the polio drive last year as well.

Workers must be protected by the state even if it is resource intensive to do so. Pakistan remains the only other country in the world where the poliovirus still exists and it has become unacceptable that we are unable to tackle this endemic despite given such support from the international community.

If Nigeria can rid itself from this crippling virus, despite facing problems with militancy and violence much like Pakistan, then we cannot make excuses anymore for our failure. We must learn from their successes and their failures to prevent more of our own. The police must be held accountable for this lapse in security and responsibility. The bravery and the valour of all polio workers across the country should be rewarded and appreciated by the government as well as the people for they are at the frontlines of this war against not only the disease but also the militants.