|An injured man receives medical treatment at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Dec. 28, 2013. A polio-eradication campaigner was killed and two people were injured when unknown gunmen sprayed bullets at a hospital in Pakistan's northwest Peshawar city on Saturday morning, local media reported. (Xinhua/Ahmad Sidique)
ISLAMABAD, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- A polio-eradication campaigner was killed and two people were injured when unknown gunmen sprayed bullets at a hospital in Pakistan's northwest Peshawar city on Saturday morning, local media reported.
Express TV said that two unknown people coming on motorbike opened fire at the head of a local polio-eradication team when he was entering a hospital located in Matani area of Peshawar, the capital city of the country's northwest Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province.
The campaigner got killed right at the spot and two other people including a woman and a policeman got injured.
The injured were shifted to Matani hospital for treatment.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Police cordoned off the area and kicked off a search operation.
Polio teams frequently come under attack by Taliban militants as they believe that the United States is using the program as a cover for espionage and the workers associated with the campaign are potential spies.
Due to repeated attacks on polio teams, the health workers and volunteers have refused to perform their duties as polio vaccinators in the country's tribal areas and parts of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, hampering government's efforts to root out the disease.
Pakistan is one of the world's three countries along with Afghanistan and Nigeria where polio still exists. In 2011, an estimated 173 cases of polio were registered across the county, following which the government speeded up the eradication campaign.
According a report released by World Health Organization (WHO) on Dec. 4, an estimated 72 cases of polio were found in the country in 2013. In 2012, there were 58 cases.
"Pakistan has reported 72 polio cases which is the highest in comparison to two other countries with the disease, as Nigeria has 50 cases and Afghanistan reported only nine during 2013," Elias Durry, emergency coordinator for the WHO's Polio Eradication Pakistan Program, said.
He said that in most cases children were missed in the areas where the law and order situation was not favorable, and where vaccination teams faced security threats.
The WHO warned of the danger of a serious polio outbreak in the northwest, saying more than 240,000 children had missed vaccination because of the Taliban ban.