NetWar: Islamic Clerics Cause Polio Outbreak In Africa

Contents Letter From Paris

Contents Letter From Paris

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Islamic Clerics Cause Polio Outbreak In Africa

BBC NEWS / Health / Africa faces new polio threat

Africa could be on the verge of a major polio outbreak, the World Health Organization has warned.
Mali and Guinea have reported their first cases of the disease in five years. Three cases have also been reported in the Darfur region of Sudan.
The WHO had previously predicted that polio could be eradicated by the end of this year.
These latest cases are being blamed on problems vaccinating people in parts of Nigeria last year.
Islamic clerics in Kano state condemned immunisation campaigns as an American plot to make Muslim women infertile.
Unable to vaccinate in the region, the WHO tried to prevent polio spreading further by protecting people in neighbouring countries.
However, Guinea and Mali were outside the ring of countries targeted by WHO and the United Nations Children's fund (UNICEF) in an immunisation campaign launched in February.
Ten African countries, which had previously eradicated the virus, have now reported new cases.

'Big implications'

Bruce Aylward, co-ordinator of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, said the latest cases suggested efforts to contain the virus were not working.
"This is an extremely important development," he said. "Earlier this year, we had conducted a synchronised campaign in a group of countries around Nigeria and Niger".
"What we are seeing is the virus actually breaking beyond that into a second tier of countries - so very big implications."
The WHO is worried that a major polio outbreak could be around the corner. The high season for polio transmission begins in September.
Officials have drawn up plans to mount three vaccination campaigns in 22 African countries, over the next 12 months.
It's aimed at halting the present outbreak, and banishing polio from the continent forever.
But as yet there aren't enough funds to carry it out - US$50m is needed by the end of this year alone. There are also questions over whether people will accept the vaccination teams.
Kano leaders recently changed their stance and a four-day campaign took place. However, it is estimated that only 60% of children were brought forward, which is not enough to stem the virus. [Read my comment below]
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus, which invades the nervous system. It can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours.
The disease can strike at any age but mainly affects children under three years of age.

My Comment:
The fatwa against the polio vaccin has been endorsed again last month by the clerics of the Supreme Council for the Shariah. Indeed, because of pressure from many instances, including the Islamic Conference in Instambul, the self-styled governor of Kano, who last year enforced an outright ban on vaccination to comply with the fatwa, did finally yield two months ago and accept the WHO teams to come back. Too late, too little... The clerics just accused him to bow to western propaganda and called anew all muslims to refuse vaccination.

When the WHO teams tried to do their work in the rural areas of Northern Nigeria, parents would hide their children from them or attack the nurses shouting the usual "Allah U Akbar" and "Allah will know the believers".

Hundreds, thousands of African children will contract polio because of those scoundrels. Will they ever pay for this crime?

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