‘We have to save our children, don’t we?’

Health workers dispensing the polio vaccine in Pakistan face violence and resistance as they go about their work.

Polio vaccination teams in Pakistan are desperately trying to get the infectious disease under control. While polio has been reduced by 99 percent since 1988, conflict and resistance to the vaccine is threatening to prolong the road to elimination.

Violence against the teams increased dramatically in 2012 when it was discovered that a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, was used by the CIA in an immunisation drive to collect DNA samples.

This compounded on already existing rumours that the drops were used to sterilise or weaken children.

“They say that you cannot come into this area. That all this polio vaccination is an American conspiracy. ‘You are conspiring with the Americans to do family planning. You want to reduce our population and this vaccine is forbidden in Islam,'”explains one of the vaccinators from the Rotary End Polio Now campaign.

This is an extract from the Lifelines film “The Last Drops” on polio in Pakistan. Learn more about polio here