Recent Kidnappings Add Further Obstacles to Eradicating Polio in Pakistan


Physicians for Human Rights has long-condemned the use of health care workers for intelligence work, as it destroys the trust necessary for effective doctor-patient relationships and leaves patients suspicious of doctors’ medical advice. Kidnappings that recently took place in Pakistan are just one example among many of distrust of health care workers, which has served to increase the number of polio cases in the country.

Cynicism about the government vaccination program has abounded in Pakistan for some time. However, skepticism over immunization workers in Pakistan increased considerably following the CIA’s use of a local doctor for a fake immunization campaign in an attempt to confirm the location of Osama bin Laden.

Last week, eleven teachers were reportedly abducted in Pakistan after being mistaken for individuals providing children with much-needed polio vaccinations. A Pakistani government official said that the militants who kidnapped the teachers feared that the vaccines were “a [w]estern ploy to render their males infertile.” They were freed on the condition that the government would stop sending polio teams to the area.

The full article continues at on Physicians for Human Rights’ website.