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  •  tangentially related: (13+ / 0-)

    we're seriously on the verge of eliminating polio. there are only a few regions where this virus remains emdemic. Guess where-- Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

    US intelligence/military policies have engendered significant resistance to immunization in the at risk populations of these very countries.

    What a criminally lost opportunity if this effort fails.

    What laws can the senators make now? Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating. C.P. Cavafy

    by anonymous volanakis on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:26:41 PM PDT

    •  Polio elimination (8+ / 0-)

      To go a bit further on this tangent...

      This is such an enormous public health victory.  In the past 25 years, the global incidence of polio is down by more than 99% and the number of countries with endemic polio has gone from 125 to 3. More than 10 million people are walking today who otherwise would have been paralyzed.  Polio has been eradicated in the Western Hemisphere, yet few seem to know this.  

      There are many reasons why Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria still have endemic polio.  Given that the CDC and WHO have organized the worldwide eradication effort, I would not put undue blame on the US.  Many CDC staff have spent years in South America, Asia, and Africa to stop polio, and it is very close.  The problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan primarily result from lack of access to vaccine.  Travel is difficult, and foreign medical staff take great risks there.  In the past year health workers have been targeted for killing in Nigeria and Pakistan.  In northern Nigeria, the area where polio is still a problem, 9 more polio health workers were killed in February by a Muslim extremist group known as Boko Haram, a Hausa term meaning “Western education is forbidden”.  Conspiracy theories, stoked by local politicians and Muslim clerics, claiming the polio campaign is a foreign plot to harm Muslims, has been made progress in northern Nigeria very difficult.  The state government of the Kano province halted vaccinations for 13  months to assure they weren't causing young women to become infertile, an alleged American plot.  In Pakistan 16 health workers – primarily women – were killed by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan in two incidents in December and January.  It certainly didn't help when the CIA used a fake vaccination outreach program to help collect data to locate Osama bin Laden.

      To overcome these substantial barriers, the eradication program is trying to stimulate advocacy among Islamic leaders for the protection of children against polio and the safety of health workers.

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