Shazia Shakeel knocks on a door in the Sattar Khan Colony of Nowshera. Three Afghan children live in the home next to the broad Kabul River in this part of northern Pakistan. Teams have stopped here many times before, but they were never able to inoculate the children against polio.This time, Shakeel and the rest of her team won’t leave until she can place drops of the oral vaccine into each child’s mouth. She then draws a mark on the children’s fingers so other health workers can verify the vaccinations a few days later.Shakeel next whips out an old cell phone to send a text to a global database used to coordinate efforts to eradicate the crippling virus.”We were facing many issues in terms of both routine immunization and polio vaccinations,” Shakeel says through an interpreter. The cell phones now “make our work easy as we [can] immediately report missed and refusal cases.” Shakeel is one of more than 100,000 Lady Health Workers in Pakistan who have been providing basic medical care door-to-door since 1994. Today, these women are on the front lines fighting to eradicate polio from one of the last remaining spots in the wild. If all goes… Read full this story
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