Afghan Polio Campaign to Go Ahead Despite Killings: WHO

by Rajashri on Sep 18 2008 2:28 PM

A polio vaccination campaign in southern Afghanistan would go ahead despite the killing of two doctors in a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban, the World Health Organization has said.

"Today, the country and Kandahar team has finally decided to continue the campaign to take forward the mission of polio eradication for which our two colleagues sacrificed their lives," Kabul-based WHO official Tahir Mir said.

The WHO had said on Tuesday that the campaign targeting 1.2 million children under five in Afghanistan's southern regions, due to start on September 21, had been cancelled following the attack.

But Mir said on Wednesday that the WHO's staff in Afghanistan are "totally committed to this noble cause and do not feel defeated due to this recent sabotage activity."

The campaign "will be carried out in all the planned areas on the scheduled dates, September 21-23," he added.

Two Afghan doctors working for the WHO were killed in a suicide car bombing in southeastern Afghanistan Sunday that was claimed by the Taliban.

The WHO said earlier this week that a similar campaign in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman was still likely to go ahead, as were future campaigns in the south in October and November.