|47,500 Cases of Paralytic Polio Via OPV|
Gunmen shot dead a woman working on U.N.-backed polio vaccination efforts and her driver in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said, just a day after similar attacks across the country killed five female polio workers. The killings are a major setback for a campaign that international health officials consider vital to contain the crippling disease but which Taliban insurgents say is a cover for espionage. In Wednesday's attack, the woman and her driver were gunned down in the northwestern town of Charsadda, said senior government official Syed Zafar Ali Shah. He said gunmen targeted two other polio teams in the same town, but no one was wounded in those attacks.
Earlier in the day in the northwestern city of Peshawar, gunmen shot a polio worker in the head, wounding him critically, said Janbaz Afridi, a senior health official. There were also attacks Wednesday on polio workers in the cities of Charsadda and Nowshera, but no casualties were reported there. Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio is endemic. UINCEF and the WHO said Wednesday that the organizations would implement, "additional security protocols to ensure the safety and security of their polio workers." But Bushra Arain, chair of the All Pakistan Lady Health Worker's Welfare Association - the national body which represents the workers actually do the majority of the field work for the vaccination program, told CBS News on Wednesday that all field work was being halted. "The government has to take full responsibility for our security," Arain told CBS News' Bokhari. "We will not do any field work. If the assassins are not arrested before the 22nd (December)... we will hold a large protest in Islamabad." Janbaz Afridi, a senior health official, said the latest attacks took place in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera cities.
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