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Pakistani Region Launches Polio Education Campaign

(RFE/RL) February 16, 2007 -- Health officials in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province have launched an education campaign aimed at convincing parents to let their children be vaccinated against polio

Waheed Khan, deputy director of the province's health department, confirmed media reports that some 20,000 local children have not been vaccinated because their parents believed rumors spread by some mosques and radio stations that the vaccines are a U.S. plot to sterilize their offspring.

As the new education drive was announced, a local health official involved in the polio campaign was reported killed in a bomb blast.

Abdul Ghani, who headed the polio inoculation campaign in the Bajaur tribal district, near the Afghan border, was returning from a meeting with a local religious leader when his car was hit by a bomb. He died on the spot. No one has claimed responsibility.