Polio controversy: Peshawar hospital set on fire

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Staff Report

Peshawar

Dozens of protesters stormed inside a hospital in Peshawar’s Masho Khel area on Monday and set it on fire after dozens of children fell ill allegedly due to reaction of polio vaccine.

TV footages show a large number of people gathered outside the health facility. The news channel reported that the protesters have set the Basic Health Unit (BHU) on fire.

Later in the day, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan debunked reports clarifying that complaints of headaches, nausea and abdominal pain among the students were “psychological and triggered by panic”.

“All the children are in stable condition,” the minister said at a press conference. “In 3,000 children not even one is unstable. One child complains of stomachache and everyone assumes that it is because of polio drops. It was a psychological effect.

The school administration and the affected parents blame the polio vaccine for the students’ ill-health, KP’s Emergency Operations Centre and other health departments’ officials rejected the accusation.

“The anti-polio vaccine is the safest vaccine that has protected millions of children from disabilities. The polio vaccine is administered to millions of children in every polio campaign in the country without any adverse effects,” said EOC Coordinator Capt (retd) Kamran Afridi.

Meanwhile, reports suggest the administrations of the affected schools had previously refused to allow their students to be vaccinated.

KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan also took notice of the issue and ordered officials to submit a comprehensive report at the earliest.