Home > Hostile communities: Polio continues to thrive in Karachi

Hostile communities: Polio continues to thrive in Karachi

At least 11 union counci­ls in the city were declar­ed ‘high-risk’ two years ago in 2013




Even as polio cases dropped significantly in 2015, Karachi is still at risk. Over the years, only three of 11 high-risk union councils could be declared safe.

At least 11 union councils in the city were declared ‘high-risk’ two years ago in 2013, including Ittehad Town, Chishti Nagar, Islamia Colony, Gujro, Songal, Manghopir, Muzaffarabad, Muslimabad, Liaquatabad, Rahri and Chakra Goth. However, only Liaquatabad, Rahri and Chakra Goth have been declared safe in the last two years.

During a meeting on Thursday at his office, Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, in charge of launching polio drives in high-risk areas, said, “Everyone must work with dedication and especially focus their energies on the children who were left out of the polio campaign.”

However, former town health official Dr Mohammad Abbas Gopang, said attitude of the community and their involvement in the polio drive is a huge challenge for health officials in eradicating polio. “We should involve the community more directly in the polio drive instead of approaching them to persuade other residents,” he added.

Dr Gopang worked in Gadap Town where Gujro, Songal, Manghopir are high-risk. “The younger generation follows what elders have taught them; to obstruct the polio campaign. Young people misbehave with health officials and polio workers.”

One of the health officials told The Express Tribune there is not a single local doctor in Gadap Town. “Doctors from outside find it immensely difficult to persuade local community,” the officer, requesting anonymity, said. He said residents object to new faces entering their areas. “There is a large trust deficit. Community members complain their needs are ignored and polio is given more importance,” the officer added.

Lack of security, recognition

Law-enforcement agencies do not cooperate with polio workers, a health official said. Although Sindh IGP Ghulam Haider Jamali promised during a meeting on October 2 that adequate security would be provided to polio workers, the promise still needs to be fulfilled.

“Workers don’t want to go there without adequate security,” another health official said. “No one wants to take the risk for a few rupees.”

Another health official said, “We are compelled to delay drives in some areas because we fear our safety and the law-enforcement officials don’t cooperate with us.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.

About Amin Khan

Amin Khan is a web developer, SEO expert, Online Mentor & marketer working from last 4 years on the internet and managing several successful websites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *