Conservatives’ polio vaccine boycott

The political leader of a democratic party inaugurates a polio eradication program in a mass gathering at Pishin, Balochistan, Pakistan. (Malik Achakzai/UPI Next).

QUETTA, Sep 16,2013 (Abdul Malik Achakzai / UPI Next) — Nasir Khan, a waiter with a polio-stricken 3-year-old son, is one of the faces of a boycott of polio vaccinations by conservative Islamic leaders in Pakistan who claim the campaign is a Western conspiracy to limit Muslim populations by causing AIDS and sterility.

Khan, who lives away from his village, said his wife turned vaccinators away after religious leaders warned the drops are harmful.

“Even my family was visited by the female vaccination team [recently] and my wife had refused to vaccinate my only son,” Khan told UPI Next. “My son will be crippled forever due to a polio attack.”

Public health officials say the populations of conservative regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan and northern Nigeria are difficult to vaccinate, in part because of widespread belief that the drops are a plot to cripple their children and reduce the birthrate. Opposition has grown since the 2012 U.S. assassination of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, an effort that included using a Pakistani doctor running a fake vaccination effort to collect information on bin Laden.

Read more Conservatives’ polio vaccine boycott takes toll in Pakistan –


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