Late last night we received the heart-breaking news that five polio vaccinators had been killed in Karachi, Pakistan.
Our sympathy goes out to the victims' families today, but also to the thousands of children who will now miss out on some of the most basic of health services.
The vaccinators, all female, had been working to protect children against polio as part of a three-day vaccination round. It follows a similar incident on Monday, in which a male polio vaccinator, also in Karachi, was killed.
These vaccinators were some of the true heroes of polio eradication.
We are all in awe of the dedication and bravery of those who risk their own lives to protect children against this devastating disease. The best way to honour their sacrifice is to ensure that all Pakistani children receive basic health services and that polio is finally eradicated from their country, once and for all.
WHO, UNICEF and the other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are committed to supporting the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani people in their efforts to rid their country of polio - and so are we! This tragedy will not stop eradication efforts and only heightens our resolve to deliver a polio-free Pakistan.
Thank you for standing shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani people in their commitment to free their country from this disease.
Source: The End of Polio; The Global Poverty Project