The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing approximately $65 million to Pakistan’s government to provide polio vaccination campaigns in the country, “one of the most difficult fronts against the disease as global health organizations risk missing their goal of stopping polio globally the end of 2012,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “If Pakistan achieves certain goals with the money, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will repay the loan to Japan, according to officials briefed on the plan,” according to the newspaper (Guth, 8/18).
In a New York Times essay, journalist Donald McNeil writes, “To a doctor, all epidemics are objectively different â€¦ But to the mortals they mow down, all epidemics are emotionally alike â€” an onslaught of fear, awe, repulsion, stigma, denial, rage and blame â€” and doctors would be foolish to forget that.”
With 63 cases of polio diagnosed in Pakistan this year, nearly double the number recorded in the same time period 2010, the U.N. “says that these findings suggest Pakistan could be the ‘last polio reservoir worldwide’ â€“ the country standing in the way of eliminating only the second global epidemic disease after smallpox,” the Atlantic Wire reports.
CDC Director Thomas Frieden, who currently is visiting India and who previously worked with the Indian government assisting in tuberculosis (TB) control, praised the country’s “progress in controlling tuberculosis and tobacco use” on Monday during a speech to health practitioners and policymakers, according to the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog. Frieden also noted “India’s strides in the past decade on â€¦ polio control and HIV/AIDS prevention,” the blog reports.
Hundreds of parents “are defying threats of jail time by refusing polio vaccines for their children in a high-risk northern Nigerian state,” according to Muhammad Abdu Zango, Kano state coordinator of Journalists Against Polio, the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports.
Officials In Nigerian State Say Parents Who Refuse Polio Vaccination For Children Could Be Prosecuted
“Officials in Nigeria’s northern Kano state say parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated against polio may be prosecuted,” VOA News reports. “Officials began a four-day immunization campaign in Kano on Thursday, with the goal of immunizing six million children,” according to the news service (7/29).
“Spying is a messy business that necessarily involves deceit, and U.S. intelligence operatives need latitude to do their work. In this case, however, the planners and approvers of the CIA [vaccine] operation didn’t appropriately calculate the possible consequences of their actions on an agenda that is as important to the world as fighting al-Qaeda,” a Bloomberg editorial states.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday announced a three-year partnership with the soccer team FC Barcelona aimed at promoting polio eradication and highlighting the importance of vaccines, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s “Seattle Big Blog” reports (Sunde, 7/28).
“There are few ideas as powerful as the eradication of a human disease. But the euphoria around the world’s single success to date â€“ that of smallpox â€“ has led to ever more costly efforts to do the same for polio. World leaders need either to radically step up their commitment or have the courage to abandon the goal explicitly,” a Financial Times editorial states.
An independent group of health experts, formed last year at the request of the WHO, on Wednesday warned that the world is not on track to eradicate polio by the end of 2012, the Associated Press reports.