(In case you want to know why it is taking so long to finish vaccinating children in Pakistan against polio; read the following written by Rotary International, January 13, 2016)
Rotary members and our partners in the fight to eradicate polio offer our heartfelt condolences and express a deep sadness in the wake of a horrific bomb attack in Quetta, Pakistan, that took the lives of at least 15 security personnel today.
This attack outside a polio immunization center is a stark reminder of the dangers faced by Rotary, our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and the brave women and men on the front lines of our effort to protect all children from the paralyzing effects of polio. While the bombing will be investigated, one thing is clear: The security personnel who were killed died because their job was to protect teams of polio immunizers. We applaud the government’s commitment to continue the vaccination campaign throughout Pakistan, which is one of only two countries where the poliovirus is still endemic.
Today we pause to honor the sacrifice made by the heroic police officers killed. Yet our 30-year commitment to end polio remains steadfast. Even as we absorb the horror of this bombing, we are redoubling our efforts to educate families and build confidence in the safety of polio vaccines, and to engage community and religious leaders to support our campaign.
We are closer than ever to achieving a polio-free world. Vast improvements have been seen in Pakistan, with more than 80 percent fewer cases in the country than in 2014. In order to stop polio in Pakistan in 2016, we must ensure the safety of vaccinators to reach every child.
And today, our release of $35 million in grants for polio eradication signals our determination to finish the job to which thousands of courageous individuals have committed themselves, and to never forget the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives in this effort.