Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The depths of belief

This is really more current events than political science, but it illustrates another dimension of the problems faced by the challenged political system in Nigeria.

Some poorly educated radicals in Muslim countries have preached that polio vaccines are Western or American attacks on Islamic people. Some politically motivated terrorists have followed up with killings of public health workers trying to eliminate polio.

Before anyone gets all proud of rational Western scientific attitudes, remind yourself that there are people in the USA and Europe who claim that vaccinations cause autism. Some of them endanger the rest of us and our children by not having their children vaccinated. [The vaccine-autism controversy has been brewing ever since Andrew Wakefield published his infamous 1998 paper in The Lancet. Fourteen years later, the study has been retracted and scientists have had no luck finding a legitimate link between childhood vaccinations and autism. Yet, the debate rages on.]

Nine Polio Health Workers Gunned Down
Unknown gunmen shot dead nine women involved in Nigeria's polio-vaccination campaign in the northern city of Kano on Friday in two separate attacks, press reports said on Friday…

The attacks on the health workers on Friday will likely further complicate Nigeria's efforts to eradicate polio. Some influential Muslim leaders oppose polio vaccination, saying it is harmful and aimed at Muslim children.

Nigeria is one of three countries where polio remains endemic, including India and Pakistan. Islamist militants in Pakistan last month attacked health workers involved in the polio eradication campaign there.

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At 9:26 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Nigeria Wazobia FM journalists held over polio deaths

"Two Nigerian journalists have been arrested over the killing of nine female polio vaccinators in northern Kano state on Friday, police have said.

"Kano police chief Ibrahim Idris told the BBC the journalists would be charged with culpable homicide.

"They had incited the public to oppose vaccinations through their Wazobia FM radio station, he alleged.

"Some Muslim leaders in northern Nigeria believe polio vaccinations cause infertility among women.

"They see it as a Western conspiracy to reduce the Muslim population.

"Such opposition is a major reason why Nigeria is one of just three countries where polio is still endemic..."


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