Communicable diseases (excl HIV-TB-Malaria)
I find this news unbelievably depressing and sad. How can it be that in this day and age, people can be so ignorant? What lies behind these dreadful murders - is the intention to create instability?
Clearly health professionals have to stand together and use their influence and educational capacity to combat misinformation.
There are many perspectives relating to this issue and most actions are outside of the remit of CHILD2015. However, one of the actions we can take is to make information about the importance of polio and other vaccines very readily available in local languages to health workers and the community at large.
For India, we recently produced a video on this very issue. Please see:
I live and work in Kano where these senseless murders took place. Nine young women and a man were killed for their efforts to see to the eradication of polio in our community.[...] The rumour that Oral Polio Vaccine contain antifertility drugs was started by a Professor of Pharmacology at neighbouring Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 2003. Despite proof to the contrary after thorough investigation of OPV, he recently repeated these allegations in the newspapers. Unfortunately the issues raised by this pharmacologist were badly handled by Government publicists at the time.
The killing of the health workers was horrendous. It was terrible and there can be no justification. The tragedy is that the perpetrators may never be brought to book and the killings may happen again.
The reasons are multifactorial. Religion may be a factor but it is probably minor. Ignorance cannot be significant also.
There is so much discontent in Nigeria [...] If the Governments of Nigeria can address youth unemployment seriously and give the citizenry hope, things might improve for the better.
'In this scenario, it should be noted that lack of awareness and education regarding the disease and its vaccination, coupled with homegrown politics has caused great setbacks in the polio eradication programme. There is a dire need to develop an effective strategy in accordance with local beliefs and circumstances to suit the populace. Comprehensive security cover must be provided to polio workers to avert suspension of future campaigns, and also to safeguard the lives of those working in areas marred by terrorism.
I think that routine education integrated in the delivery of routine healthcare should go a long way towards reaching ambitious goals. Inequity in access to healthcare information among rich and poor, rural and urban health facilities fuel the maintenance of the polio virus in most endemic foci. Ethnic/religious misconceptions about polio vaccination could also be addressed by advocacy and coaching from religious groups from countries where wild polio has been eradicated. Creating a community for this purpose could be an innovative alternative.
If polio is ever to be eradicated and sustained, then countries in Low and middle income category must loosen up the avoidable strictures. They must open up the access, availability and administration 24/7. It does not add more to the cost because these facilities are open already anyway. Parents and family should be able to take their children for immunisation at their own time, and not the leisure of health workers. That is if the world is really serious to eradicate this scourge called polio or any other vaccine-related disease.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has set up a global surveillance mechanism to monitor negative stories about vaccines in the media.