Monday, November 24, 2014

Why are people still refusing to vaccinate their kids against polio?

Since January, there have been more than 200 cases of polio in Pakistan. This level of cases has not been this high in fifteen years. Even with this knowledge of the rising number of polio cases, people still refuse to vaccinate their children. Some of this can be blamed on government mismanagement. But in many regions of Pakistan, many think the polio vaccination campaign is a western conspiracy to sterilize their children, an idea implemented by the Taliban. In 2012, Taliban militants ordered a complete ban on vaccinations in most regions of western Pakistan in response to drone attacks by the United States. According to UNICEF, this has led to nearly 300,000 children being un-vaccinated against polio. This is also worrisome because these poor neighborhoods are high risk for polio because of the lack of sanitation in the area.
Abrar Khan

The article describes the experience of Abrar Khan, 26 years of age, who traveled to the poor neighborhood of Baldia, Karachi. He contracted polio when he was three and now he is a part of a team trying to convince parents to vaccinate their children. He is accompained by armed policemen because without their protection they are at risk of being killed during their immunization campaigns. As he travels door to door, he is turned away as household members claim "I don't trust it" "Why are you after my grandchildren?" "My children don't need this, leave them alone!" "There are other diseases why are you focusing on this one?"


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