ISLAMABAD — Gunmen opened fire on a U.N. vehicle in the southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday, seriously wounding a Ghanaian doctor who was part of an urgent campaign to eradicate polio from Pakistan.
The attack was a further blow to the three-day polio vaccination drive, which had already been stymied in some parts of the country by Taliban threats.
The U.N. vehicle came under fire as it passed through Gadap, a neighborhood on the northwestern outskirts of Karachi, early Tuesday. The doctor, who was shot in the abdomen, was taken to the private Aga Khan Hospital for emergency treatment, according to Guido Sabatinelli, country director for the World Health Organization, who spoke by phone from Karachi.
The doctor’s driver, who was less seriously injured, was also treated and released, Sabatinelli said. He said he could not release the victims’ names because his staff had not yet reached the doctor’s family in Ghana.
The United Nations said its security officials were investigating the shooting together with the Pakistani police.
“We don’t know exactly why this shooting took place, but it is probably related to the polio eradication program,” Sabatinelli said.
The shooting cast an ominous cloud over a major effort to push back a rising tide of polio cases in Pakistan, one of just three countries where the disease is still endemic; the others are Afghanistan and Nigeria. Pakistan reported 198 new infections in 2011.
Thousands of Pakistani government health workers are walking door to door, administering oral vaccines to children under 5. The United Nations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private donors are helping to finance the effort and providing expert assistance.
The campaign is difficult because every vulnerable child must be vaccinated several times to be fully protected, which is especially difficult to achieve in the violent northwestern tribal belt along the Afghan border, the last major reservoir of new infections in the country.
It was not clear why the Ghanaian doctor came under attack in Karachi, which has also seen a spike in polio cases, caused in part by an influx of ethnic Pashtuns fleeing fighting in the northwest. Many of the Pashtuns in the city live in cramped, impoverished conditions, which can foster the spread of the disease, particularly in the humid summer.
The holiest plant of the Christmas season may be a raggedy shrub with peeling bark that seems to grow best in a dusty backyard in Tempe, Ariz. This is Boswellia sacra, better known as the frankincense tree. The shrub’s gum resin is one of the three biblical gifts that the wise men bestowed on the infant Jesus. Until recently, Americans who wished to cultivate their…
HELSINKI — Marlboro Man lit up his last cigarette on Finnish TV screens in 1978. Soon, his smokes will be out of plain sight in stores, and selling tobacco to Marlboro Jr. may land the retailer in jail. Finland will push tobacco sales under the counter in shops as a new law comes into effect in stages, starting yesterday. The Nordic nation, one of the…
FRESNO, Calif. — Federal law now allows visitors to carry guns in national parks, but you can’t just slip a loaded pistol into your backpack and take a hike. Pay attention, because this is a little complicated. You will need a concealed weapons permit to carry the loaded gun in the backpack. But you don’t need any kind of permit if you just want to…
In Central Oregon, the color of money during the winter is white. When the snow falls, it is one of the foundations of the local economy. But while most of us rejoice at a snowfall, the bad thing is that snow blankets everything, and at some point, you will probably have to remove it. But suppose 6 inches dumps overnight, and early in the morning…
Q: Why do some vegetables, such as cooked diced carrots, spark when I reheat them in the microwave?A: Microwaves work by sending out electromagnetic waves that vibrate the water, fat and sugar molecules in food, creating heat. The microwave generates an electric field, but the intensity of the electricity varies throughout the microwave. When you cut a carrot into small pieces and heat them in…