Taliban Bans Polio Vaccine For Pakistan Children

A ban on polio vaccinations imposed by the Taliban could affect about 280,000 children living in tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, according to estimates from the World Health Organization.

Last month, local Taliban militants prohibited polio vaccines over the United States’ use of drone strikes in the region. When a three-day nationwide effort to administer polio vaccines began this week, health workers and volunteers weren’t able to immunize children in North and South Waziristan. Under this security situation, they “obviously cannot operate,” said Mazhar Nisar, the health education adviser in the Pakistani prime minister’s polio program.

Throughout the rest of the country, vaccination efforts continued as 180,000 health workers and volunteers fanned throughout communities trying to immunize 34 million children, under the age of 5.


The commander, Hafiz Gul Bahadur said that the drone strikes “are worse than polio,” and consulted with other Taliban leaders regarding the decision, according to the statement. Drone strikes are widely unpopular, as the Pakistani government has pressed the U.S. administration to stop the attacks. 20 dead in drone attack in Pakistan

Pakistan remains one of the three countries in the world grappling with polio. The country has had 22 reported cases this year. The other two countries are Afghanistan with 11 cases and Nigeria with 54. Polio is highly contagious and can cause paralysis, breathing problems, deformities and death. There is no cure for polio, so the focus lies on vaccines to prevent the disease. The vaccine is administered orally, and in multiple doses to achieve full immunity. Pakistan’s tribal regions are areas where polio is known to be active, according to disease data. The WHO, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and Rotary International have a joint polio eradication campaign.

Should health workers just withdraw from their anti-polio campaign where the Taliban is concerned? Or should the U.S. relent from their drone strikes?

Source: CNN

Image: India Morning News

Indian Woman Annuls ‘Child Marriage’ Legally

A young woman has had her child “marriage” legally annulled in northern Rajasthan state, in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in India.

Laxmi Sargara, 18, wed Rakesh when she was just one and he was three. She grew up with her own family, only finding out she was married when her in-laws came to claim her this month.

Child marriages are illegal in India but are still common in many parts of the country, especially in rural and poorer communities. She knew nothing of her future life until a few days ago when her groom’s family came to take her home with them to start her new life as Rakesh’s wife.


After appealing to her parents Laxmi sought help from a local non-governmental organisation, the Sarathi Trust in Jodhpur city. At first Rakesh wanted to go ahead with the marriage. But he relented after counselling from the NGO. Since child marriages are not legal under India’s Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, both Laxmi and Rakesh signed an affidavit declaring the marriage null and void in the presence of a notary public in Jodhpur.

Narayan Bareth, a journalist in the state capital Jaipur, says a recent survey found that 10% of girls in Rajasthan are married off before the age of 18. There have been several cases of young girls refusing to get married in India but these are rare cases, correspondents say. According to Unicef, 40% of the world’s child marriages take place in India, although recent efforts to stop the practice mean the number of such marriages has declined.

What is your view regarding child marriages? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

Source: BBC News

Image: Gulf News