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WHO official: 240,000 Pakistani children missed polio vaccinations

Friday - 3/29/2013, 12:50pm  ET

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A top official with the World Health Organization says some 240,000 children have missed U.N.-backed vaccinations against polio because of security concerns in Pakistan's tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

The acting WHO chief in Pakistan, Dr. Nima Saeed Abid, says health workers have not been able to immunize children in the North and South Waziristan regions -- Taliban strongholds -- since July 2012.

She also says 15 health workers have been killed in the anti-polio campaign in Pakistan since July 2012.

Pakistani militant groups oppose the vaccinations and accuse the workers of spying for Washington.

Pakistan is one of the few remaining countries, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio is rampant. As many as 58 cases were reported in Pakistan in 2012, down from 198 in 2011.

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