In class, we’ve briefly mentioned polio still being endemic in only three countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria). In December and January, more than 10 vaccination workers were killed in Pakistan. Micah pointed out that these workers are often trained individuals from the local community, making the loss far greater than just the polio vaccine,but the loss of a person who was knowledgeable, capable, and willing to be a medical worker. Now, nine polio vaccination workers have been killed in Nigeria. From the BBC article:
Some Nigerian Muslim leaders have previously opposed polio vaccinations, claiming they could cause infertility.
On Thursday, a controversial Islamic cleric spoke out against the polio vaccination campaign, telling people that new cases of polio were caused by contaminated medicine.
More information about polio can be found on the World Health Organization’s fact sheet. Great progress has been made — the disease was endemic in 125 countries as recently as 1988 — but it is a hard fight in the remaining three.