Polio Vaccination: Bad reporting and Human Rights Violation

Polio Vaccination: Bad reporting and Human Rights Violation

The government in Pakistan, particularly the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, continues to violate human rights under the influence of WHO’s polio vaccination program.

In the fresh incident of human rights violation, the Khyber Pakhtunkpolio-vaccinehwa government has hold the salaries of 30 school teachers because they refused to participate in vaccinating children. The story reported in Express Tribune quoted the president of the local teachers’ association expressing disappointment over the security arrangements of the government provided to polio vaccination teams. A number of polio vaccination teams have been attacked by terrorists over the past few years in Pakistan.

While the teachers are justified in refusing to do vaccination duty under such failed security, the very assignment is a violation of their rights. A government appointed teacher’s duties include all activities directly related to literacy – teaching and examinations. Vaccinating children or taking part in vaccination campaigns never was included in teaching. However, few teachers can say no when the government orders them to do out-of-job work because they fear losing their jobs and there is no accountability of government in Pakistan.

Papers like Express Tribune and others in Pakistan mostly do one-sided, pro-vaccination reporting. Their latest story of a child getting polio in Pakistan is like many other stories where they do not go into basic relevant information like whether it was paralytic polio or the relatively harmless form of polio in which patients experience only temporary illness with flu like symptoms. While paralytic polio, and permanent paralysis from polio, is rare, media headlines make all polio cases sound like “crippling” or permanently disabling cases.

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