Jun 26, 2012

Polio Vaccinations in Protest at US Drone Campaign

Taliban Leader Bans Polio Vaccinations in Protest at US Drone Campaign

- Common Dreams staff
Taliban officials in Pakistan have banned a polio eradication campaign taking place in South Waziristan in an attempt to force an end to increased US bombing raids in the tribal areas that run along the Afghan border.
Samiulah, 15, who contracted polio, receives rehabilitation at a clinic in Kabul. Cases of the disease are increasing in Afghanistan. (Photograph: Anja Niedringhaus/AP)Pakistan is one of only three countries left in the world where polio has a significant foothold, but efforts to control the disease have been hampered by local mistrust of medical officials since it was revealed that the CIA fabricated a fake vaccination drive in an attempt to confirm the whereabouts of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in 2011.
Leaflets distributed on behalf of Mullah Nazir, the leader of the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA) accused health workers who administer anti-polio drops of being US spies, reports The Guardian.
"On the one hand, they are killing innocent children in drone strikes, while on the other hand they are saving their lives by vaccinating them."
"In the garb of these vaccination campaigns, the US and its allies are running their spying networks in Fata which has brought death and destruction on them in the form of drone strikes," the leaflet said.
It also questioned the sincerity of international efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease. "On the one hand, they are killing innocent children in drone strikes, while on the other hand they are saving their lives by vaccinating them," the printed mot said"
México a la vanguardia en el Síndrome de Post Polio

Jun 22, 2012

UNICEF: 2.7 million kids have never received polio vaccine

About 2.7 million children in six countries have never received a single polio vaccine dose, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported yesterday. 

"This is a clarion call to accelerate all efforts to reach these unreached children," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in an agency press release. The report singled out the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Nigeria, and northwest Pakistan as areas of ongoing internal conflict that are of particular concern. Lake added, "The polio campaign is dangerously under-funded. But we are on the 
verge of victory."
Jun 20 UNICEF press release

In one of those conflict-torn areas, Pakistani officials said they will try to persuade militants in a northwestern tribal area to lift a ban on polio vaccination launched to protest US drone strikes, Agence France-Press (AFP) reported today. Local warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadu several days ago banned vaccination teams in North Waziristan, a Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold area bordering Afghanistan. A senior government official said authorities have asked the provincial governor to open a dialogue with the militants. He said the government was concerned about more than 161,000 unvaccinated children in the region and about the safety of vaccination teams.
Jun 21 AFP story

Finally, today the WHO European Region, which includes parts of Asia, celebrated 10 years of being declared polio-free. Despite challenges, such as a 2010 outbreak of polio imported into Tajikistan and three adjoining nations that was quickly addressed, WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab said in a press release, "We have had many successes in the past 10 years, and we should recognize and applaud them."
Jun 21 WHO news release

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