Statement by Dr. Shahzad Baig, National Coordinator of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme (6 Nov 2021)

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ISLAMABAD, 06 Nov 2021: The Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme has learned of the involvement of a front-line worker in a case of sexual harassment against a female team member in Karachi.

The Programme is deeply concerned with the incident and strongly condemns the actions of the front-line worker. The Programme is taking immediate steps to provide support to the affected female staff member. The accused person has been arrested, charged by the police and subsequently terminated from service on the direction of the National Coordinator of the Polio Programme.

Any form of exploitation, abuse and harassment in the Programme or of the communities it serve is a serious violation of the Programme's commitment to serving the people of Pakistan. Any behavior of this nature is an unacceptable breach of fundamental human rights and a deep betrayal of the core values the Programme upholds.

We reaffirm that we have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual or any other forms of harassment or intimidation at any level in the Polio Programme. Together with partners we are scaling up our efforts to further protect female staff working in the Programme and to do everything in our power to prevent all from harassment and abuse.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Zulfiqar Babakhel, Media Manager, NEOC, 0345-9165937