Statement by Minister Fantino: Canada remains committed to polio eradication and urges protection of polio workers

May 21, 2013

"The Government of Canada condemns Monday's senseless attack on a polio vaccination team in Pakistan that killed a paramilitary soldier who was guarding them.

"On behalf of all Canadians, I extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the soldier who was killed.

"This shooting comes on the heels of similar attacks in the past. This reminds us of the dangers faced everyday by polio vaccination workers and those assigned to protect them, as they risk their lives to keep children safe from this crippling disease.

"Pakistan is one of just three countries, including Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio remains endemic. Thanks to international vaccination efforts, in which Canada has played a leading role, polio cases have decreased by 99 percent over the last two decades.

"As long as one polio case remains, millions of children continue to be at risk. That's why Canada has demonstrated its commitment by pledging significant support over the next six years to help ensure we can end polio and build the infrastructure needed to help all children live healthy and productive lives.

"By helping to eradicate polio, Canada will help children and their families lead healthy and productive lives, reducing poverty worldwide. Now more than ever, we need to stay the course to achieve a polio-free world for children and families everywhere.

"Canada urges the Pakistani government, as well as religious and community leaders, to continue promoting polio vaccination efforts in their country and to assist in providing a safe environment for health workers and those that protect them."

Julian Fantino
Minister of International Cooperation