Three women polio workers — Nagina, a supervisor since 2012, Basira, a volunteer since 2016 and Samina, a volunteer in the last few rounds — were shot dead while on their immunisation rounds recently in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In addition, an explosion took place at the entrance of the cold chain office in Nangarhar province. No one was injured but there was damage to equipment.
RI PolioPlus Chair Michael McGovern, in a statement issued from the RI headquarters, expressed grief over the loss. “We were deeply saddened to hear of the loss of three polio workers in Jalalabad, Afghanistan today. As is our custom, we will provide immediate payments to the families to assist them in the short term,” he said.
Afghanistan National Polioplus Committee Chair Mohammed Ishaq Niazmand participated in meetings with the health minister and polio programme lead later in the day. Rotary and the Gates Foundation provided $1,500 each and WHO Afghanistan provided $1,000. Ishaq will join a group delivering the funds to key known survivors in the next few days.
“We have provided condolences to the Polio Emergency Operations Center in Jalalabad. These incidents show the importance of working with all parties to finish the job of eradicating polio in the endemic countries. We all pray that there is no more loss of life,” said McGovern.