Karachi school refuses polio team on behalf of parents

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KARACHI: A private school in Ayesha Manzil did not allow a polio team to enter its premises on Thursday, citing parents’ refusals.

School administration submitted in writing that it would not allow polio workers on its premises due to a small enrollment of young children and parents’ refusals beforehand.

Officials from the district administration are negotiating with school administration, and plan to take legal action against the school for obstruction of official duties under section 186 of the penal code.

As a last resort, district officials plan to seal the school if it appears to be unregistered.

Thousands of teams have been mobilised for a three-day nationwide polio immunisation campaign that kicked off on Monday.

Last month, a $180 million World Bank deal was finalised for routine immunisation of children in the country, and a three-year ‘Emergency Plan for Polio Eradication’ for 2016 to 2018 was also approved, including $90million from the Islamic Development Bank.

Refusing polio immunization became a criminal offense last year, which has drastically brought down the rate of refusals.

Know more: War on polio: Is it all spiraling out of control for Pakistan?

However, the threat of jail or fines has not deterred some. A man refused polio immunization for his children and threatened polio workers yesterday in Lahore, while polio workers have faced attacks in the latest polio drive.

So far, only one case of polio has been reported in Karachi in 2016, compared to 54 in 2015.

Fifty percent of polio cases occur due to refusals. Four thousand parents refused last year in Balochistan alone.

Parents tend to refuse immunization for various reasons, including religious beliefs and socio-cultural attitudes.

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