Pakistanis Demand Electricity—by Refusing Kids' Polio Vaccine

Villagers call for mosquito spray, ambulance service
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 11, 2013 12:00 PM CDT
In this Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, photo, a Pakistani police officer, right, guards a group of health workers going from house to house to give polio vaccines to children in Islamabad, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

(Newser) – Pakistanis in the northwestern Lakki Marwat district are taking a stand to bring electricity to their region: They won't accept polio vaccinations for their children until they get power. In a protest yesterday, hundreds of villagers refused to let in vaccination teams, the Atlantic reports. The villagers are also calling for mosquito spray and a local ambulance service, says an elder. The government is working with locals to fix things, says a local official.

"The elders are now discussing the situation with the political agent and we shall continue until their demands are addressed and ensure every child gets polio drops," the official says. Pakistan is one of three countries that the World Health Organization calls "polio-endemic"; the others are Afghanistan and Nigeria. Tribal elders have previously refused vaccinations as a form of protest; last year saw a similar effort related to power supply. "Our children die of scorching heat and mosquito bites; what difference does it make if they die of polio?" said one elder. (Read more polio stories.)

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