Five Pakistani women and a man were killed on Tuesday in separate attacks on health workers participating in a national drive to eradicate polio from Pakistan.
The attacks forced health officials to temporarily suspend a large polio vaccination drive in Karachi, the country’s most populous city, where the disease has been making a worrisome comeback in recent years.
Saghir Ahmed, the health minister for southern Sindh Province, said he had ordered the 24,000 aid workers taking part in the campaign in Karachi to immediately stop work. It was not clear when they would resume.
The shooting represented a brutal setback to polio immunization efforts in Pakistan, one of just three countries in the world where the disease remains endemic. Pakistan accounted for 198 new cases last year — the highest rate in the world, followed by Afghanistan and Nigeria.