Polio health workers not recruited beyond government consent: WHO

January 13, 2015

ISLAMABAD, Jan 13 (INP): The World Health Organization has firmly dispelled the notion that its federal office in Islamabad is involved in the direct recruitment of polio workers in any capacity.

In a clarification here on Tuesday, The World Health Organization (WHO) in Pakistan said it works in close collaboration with the Government of Pakistan to assist on polio eradication in the country. The assistance is provided in the technical domains ranging from strategy formulation at the national and provincial levels down to the ground level of micro-planning and training at the union council (UC) level. The Union council Polio Workers (UCPWs) are being supported by the WHO since 2012 and constitute its most peripheral contractors, all with a technical support role to the government polio workers.

In view of the current critical situation of polio eradication in the country, the Government of Pakistan in consultation with its international partners (WHO and UNICEF) have developed a comprehensive plan for the low transmission (December 2014 – May 2015) season, aiming at stopping polio by the end of 2015. One of the components of this plan is to make a staff surge with the assistance of polio partners, mainly at the district and UC levels to improve the technical assistance and facilitate the program implementation.

The surge of WHO cannot be viewed as a substitute to government prerogatives in the fight against polio. This would be contrary and unprecedented in the almost half a century of history of WHO operation serving Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention here that the recruitment of the UCPWs, currently in progress across the country, has received full consent from the Government of Pakistan and is part of the all-engaged agreed low transmission season plan.

INP/AH/SB