Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Polio, Another Western Plot

Having grown up with a close relative that has been a lifelong victim of polio, this story is especially relevant to me.
Indonesia's last case was in 1995, and it is now the 16th country to be re-infected by a strain of the virus that broke out of northern Nigeria when vaccinations stopped there, then crossed Africa and the Red Sea.

Officials recommended that Indonesia immediately vaccinate five million children on the western end of Java, including the capital, Jakarta, to control the virus. The country began planning such a drive last week, they said.

Indonesia has more Muslims than any other nation, and polio is now found almost exclusively in Muslim countries or regions.

Many people from northern Nigeria to the Pakistan frontier have resisted getting polio vaccines because of persistent rumors that it is a Western plot to render Muslim girls infertile or to spread AIDS. (Paradoxically, after several states in Muslim northern Nigeria halted vaccinations in 2003, it was purchases of Indonesian vaccine that finally convinced wary imams and politicians to drop their opposition, because it came from a Muslim country.)
Read the NY Times story.

These "wise" and "guided" Imams would risk condemning a child to a life of unrelenting misery in an impoverished region without gathering facts?