WHO Doctor Running Polio Program Shot in Pakistan’s Karachi

A World Health Organization doctor was injured in a gun attack in the Pakistani city of Karachi as he returned from supervising a polio vaccination campaign, a program the Taliban has opposed elsewhere in the country.

The Ghanaian national, Constant Dedo, is out of danger after surgery for wounds to his abdomen at the city’s Aga Khan University Hospital, Maryam Yunus, a WHO spokeswoman, said by phone from Islamabad. His driver was also wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The WHO is “temporarily suspending” activities in the area where Dedo was working until security for the organization’s staff could be guaranteed, Yunus said.

The attack in the southern port city of Karachi comes after Pakistan’s Taliban guerrilla movement said last month it would oppose polio immunization in the country’s northwestern tribal areas of North and South Waziristan to protest missile strikes by U.S. unmanned drone aircraft.

About 250,000 children in tribal agencies located along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan will not receive the polio vaccine as a result of the Taliban ban, the BBC reported yesterday, quoting WHO officials it didn’t name.

Pakistan is one of three remaining countries where polio is still endemic, the British broadcaster said, another being Afghanistan. It said nearly 200 children were paralyzed by the disease in 2011 in Pakistan, the most in more than a decade, citing figures from a study by the Lancet medical journal.

Drone aircraft are used by the U.S. to target Islamic militants in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Pakistan’s parliament has demanded the strikes stop, saying they violate the country’s sovereignty and kill civilians as well as the guerrillas targeted.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khurrum Anis in Karachi at kkhan14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Naween Mangi at nmangi1@bloomberg.net

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