Jun 29, 2012

Religious resistance to the polio vaccine

In DR Congo, communications efforts are turning back religious resistance to the polio vaccine

By Natacha Ikoli
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 27 June 2012 – Though polio has been eradicated from much of the world, it remains a tragic reality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where transmission of the virus was re-established in 2006. Since 2010, it has affected nearly 200 people.
UNICEF correspondent Natacha Ikoli reports on efforts to promote polio vaccination among religious communities opposed to the vaccine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
With the support of UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners, the country initiated emergency action plans to address the situation through immunization campaigns and public health programmes.
Yet in spite of multiple countrywide polio vaccination drives in 2011, wild poliovirus remains a threat, in part because some parents continue to refuse to vaccinate their children. Many resisters are fearful of rumors about the vaccine’s side effects or distrust health provider, and in some provinces, parents decline to vaccinate their children out of religious beliefs.

Religious resistance
While Christianity is the predominant religion in the country, many still follow traditional religions, and numerous groups merge Christian tenets with traditional beliefs. Some of these groups strongly resist immunization.
© UNICEF video
A polio vaccination campaign in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Though polio has been eradicated from much of the world, it remains a tragic reality in DRC.
Such religious resistance to immunization is notable in Nyunzu, a remote, hard-to-reach area. In Mukwaka, on the outskirts of Nyunzu, spiritual leader Marco Kiabuta strongly discourages his followers from using modern health care.
“When there’s a health issue, first and foremost you’ve got to call on the village wise men who will pray over the ill,” he said. In explaining this position, Mr. Kiabuta points to the bible he carries with him at all times. Adherents who don’t improve with prayer are allowed to seek assistance from a doctor, but they often decline certain treatments.
“We refuse to be treated for a disease we don’t recognize,” he said.
Ending vaccine refusal
Those refusing vaccination are only a small segment of Nyunzu’s population, said Mr. Abderrahmane Bocar, an immunization specialist with UNICEF. But it is a wide window of opportunity for poliovirus to enter the community and thrive.
© UNICEF video
A polio vaccination campaign in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Polio remains a threat in the country in part because some parents continue to refuse to vaccinate their children.
In remote areas, said Dr. Isaac Mpambu Malanda, a health zone director, people often attribute polio disease to evil spirits. Yet communication and education efforts can have a tremendous impact.
Reaching out to representatives of resistant groups and to community members can dispel negative ideas about the oral polio vaccine. Identifying resistant groups and engaging them in frequent dialogues can prompt them to change their ideas about vaccination and life-saving health care.
In Bas-Congo province, where Dr. Malanda operates, four groups refused vaccination in early 2011. Today, thanks to intense communication efforts, only one religious group continues to stand firm against the polio vaccine.

More than 500,000 children across Mauritania

In Mauritania, healthcare campaign aims to save children from preventable diseases

© UNICEF Mauritania/2012
A girl holds her sister and her sister's vaccination certificate in a poor suburb of Nouakchott, Mauritania.
By Fadila Hamidi and Anthea Moore
M’BOUT and NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, 28 June 2012 – More than 500,000 children across Mauritania have benefited from a two-month campaign organized by the Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), that provided an integrated package of immunizations (including measles and polio vaccinations) and vitamin A supplementation for all Mauritanian children under 5 years old.
This preventative care is essential to building resilience in Mauritania’s children, who are highly vulnerable to malnutrition and illness this year due to the Sahel nutrition crisis, which currently affects 700,000 people in the country.
Expanding life-saving care

Immunizations were undertaken at health centres and specially designated sites in urban centres. Some 1,000 health workers went door-to-door, providing oral doses of vitamin A and deworming medicine, from remote desert communities to the shanty settlements around the capital Nouakchott. In addition, more than 1,000 community outreach events promoted hand-washing with soap, birth registration and positive parenting practices.
The campaign, part of the second African Immunization Week, was launched on 28 April at the opening of a new health centre in M’Bout. Officials from the Government of Mauritania, the WHO, Counterpart International and UNICEF were welcomed with traditional music, singing and dancing as the community celebrated the prospect of improved health care.
© UNICEF Mauritania/2012
UNICEF Representative in Mauritania Lucia Elmi administers a vitamin A supplement to a child during the country's two-month health campaign.
Fatou Mint Samba, 27, attended the opening of the health centre with her youngest son Abbass, who is 7 months old, and her mother Dola Mint Masa, who laughed and said she is too old to remember her age.
Many women like Ms. Mint Samba brought their children to the health centre to receive vaccinations and vitamin supplements. They were also eager to learn more about immunization and to receive insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets to protect against malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Ms. Mint Masa lost a 5-year-old niece to measles, and has since been a strong community advocate for improved health care. “Last year there was a measles epidemic in this area. I went from door-to-door telling people to have their children vaccinated. I did this because I remember the death of my niece eight years ago,” she said.
“Many of the diseases that existed during my childhood don’t exist here anymore because of vaccination,” she added.
© UNICEF Mauritania/2012
Children attend the opening of a new medical centre in M'Bout, Mauritania.
Communities central to change
Preventative public health measures like immunization are both life-saving and cost-effective.
The logistical challenges of reaching remote communities in sparsely populated Mauritania are immense. And yet, excluding the cost of the vaccines and supplements, delivering this integrated package cost just 40 cents per child.
These services are particularly important during the current nutrition crisis, as malnutrition and childhood illnesses can create a vicious cycle, each increasing children’s vulnerability to the other.
After the official opening of the health centre, a radio programme was broadcast from a nearby tent. The presenter asked women from the community questions about immunization and awarded prizes for correct answers. The exchanges were accompanied by smiles, laughter and more music, signs that positive change is being embraced in the community, and that community members are proud to be at the centre of that change.
México a la vanguardia en el Síndrome de Post Polio

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

Polio Film


Entradas populares



México Post Polio Una Vida Un Camino Una Experiencia

Post Polio LITAFF A.C.

Postpoliolitaff.- Asociación Post Polio Litaff A.C Primera Organización oficial sobre Síndrome de Post Poliomielitis En México.

Polio y Efectos Secundarios SPP
- See more at: http://polioamigossinfronteras.blogspot.mx/#sthash.6PkHAkfM.dpuf


Salk Institute

Polio Video

Polio Lungs


Polio Reinders

March Of Dimes Polio History

Erradicación de La poliomielitis

Blog Archive

Search This Blog

No more Polio

Dr. Bruno