Con­tention over Po­lio vac­cine al­leged To ster­il­ize Mus­lim peo­ple turns deadly

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Diane Rah

Sus­pi­cion is grow­ing rapidly among the peo­ple in Pak­istan who claim po­lio is a tech­nique used by the West to de­stroy the Mus­lim peo­ple.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, sev­eral coun­tries have re­cently been af­fected by the vi­ral in­fec­tion Po­lio, which is known to cause se­ri­ous health con­se­quences such as par­a­lyz­ing and breath­ing com­pli­ca­tions among chil­dren un­der five. Pak­istan is one of those coun­tries af­fected by po­lio and the vac­cine pro­gram has been used to fight the spread­ing health is­sue.

A 42- year old lawyer in Pak­istan is con­vinced that the po­lio vac­cine is im­plic­itly used to desta­bi­lize male and fe­males and their gen­der char­ac­ter­is­tics in Pak­istan and other Mus­lim coun­tries where it is be­ing used. ‘Th­ese vac­cines are meant to de­stroy our na­tion…the [po­lio] drops make men less manly, and make women more ex­cited and less bash­ful. Our en­e­mies want to wipe us out’, ex­pressed Khan, the wor­ried lawyer.

Many ex­trem­ist groups in Pak­istan are now us­ing anti-po­lio cam­paigns to raise aware­ness among the peo­ple. The ac­tivism of the cam­paign has par­tic­u­larly been im­por­tant in the north­west­ern part of the coun­try where the Pash­tun pop­u­la­tion lives. Po­lio is known to have mainly af­fected the Pash­tun re­gion which com­prise up to 15 per cent of the over­all pop­u­la­tion, how­ever with 75 per cent of all po­lio cases.

The skep­ti­cism seems to largely re­flect on the Pak­istani physi­cian, Dr. Sha­keel Afridi, who is known to have helped the CIA with a fake vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram de­lib­er­ately used to help iden­tify Osama Bin Laden’s pres­ence in the re­gion.

Ex­trem­ists are now out to tar­get the em­ploy­ees who help dis­trib­ute the vac­cine claim­ing they are paid by the United States.

The sus­pi­cion has taken a deadly turn; nine peo­ple who work with the government po­lio pro­gram have been bru­tally killed. The killings raised alarm in the UN who has with­drawn their staff in Pak­istan work­ing with the pro­gram.

Ac­cord­ing to World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) who car­ried out po­lio re­search in Pak­istan, 41 per cent of par­ents and fam­i­lies re­fused to let their chil­dren be vac­ci­nated, some with lit­tle or no knowl­edge about the vac­ci­na­tion.

A Pak­istani health worker gives po­lio vac­cine drops to a child at a vac­ci­na­tion cen­tre in Pe­shawar, Pak­istan.

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