Monday, November 13, 2006

The Human Development That Is Lost During Time Of Warfare

"Farzaan Siddaqui beat up the last health workers who visited his home to vaccinate his children for polio. Like many Muslims in India, he thought the program was an infidel plot to make his community infertile.

Local health workers tried again Sunday, this time led through Siddaqui's Muslim neighborhood by a cleric, one of scores of community volunteers for an antipolio campaign in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

The campaign aims to vaccinate about 50-million children across the impoverished state, which has had 438 polio cases this year, 25 of them in the past week.

Smaller numbers of cases have emerged in other states, raising fears of a resurgence of a disease once nearly wiped out in the country.

Sunday's campaign focused on Uttar Pradesh's Muslim neighborhoods.

Siddaqui assaulted health workers in August as they tried to persuade him to immunize his son, 3, and daughter, 1. But this time, Muslim cleric Wajhat Valdi walked in while the health workers stayed outdoors. It took Valdi 15 minutes to win over Siddaqui....

Polio infects children younger than 5, spreading through contaminated water and attacking the nervous system. The disease can cause paralysis and deformation or be fatal.

Three years ago, India almost wiped out the disease after a nationwide vaccination campaign, but a combination of factors - including illiteracy and superstitious beliefs - kept many children from receiving immunizations."

Associated Press "Clerics win minds for polio campaign" St. Petersburg Times November 13, 2006

Girls who have been disabled by polio and other diseases queue up at the Amar Jyoti Rehabilitation and Research Centre in New Delhi, India.

Photo credit: (c) Global Campaign by Sebastiao Salgado and thanks.

India Campaign by Sebastiao Salgado


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