Helping Children, Despite Death Threats: A Vaccinator Explains

08/03/2014
Map of Pakistan

When my translator and I arrive in a crowded, dusty neighborhood in Karachi, Fatima Noor is waiting in a full black burqa. But she pretends not to see us.

She turns down the alley and disappears. We follow her into a neighborhood, where the buildings are so close together that Noor’s burqa brushes the walls.

Finally she slips into the entryway of a building, and with a sigh of relief, she pulls back her headscarf.

Noor is a 42-year-old mother of three. She's also one of Pakistan’s roughly 100,000 Lady Health Workers, who help provide basic health services to children in slums and remote rural areas of Pakistan.

On this day, she and two other workers are immunizing kids for measles. The trio is explaining to a group of young mothers how their children will need to get measles booster shots in a year and a half.

Being a front-line health worker usually isn't controversial. But in Pakistan, it can get you killed.

The Taliban went on an offensive against polio immunization in 2012 after it became clear that the CIA used a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign to gather intelligence on Osama bin Laden.

Since then, more than 60 polio workers have been gunned down.

The full article continues at http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/08/03/337105141/helping-children-despite-death-threats-a-vaccinator-explains on NPR’s website.