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Opinion Pieces Address Global Polio Eradication Efforts

The following opinion pieces address the global polio response.

  • Qanta Ahmed, Sania Nishtar, and Ziad Memish, The Lancet: “Today [the] ambitious goal [of global polio eradication] is threatened, partly by misinformed and politicized religious views that not only seed suspicion about polio vaccination but recently led to murder of polio workers,” the authors write, noting “this disease persists only in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, which are countries with substantial Muslim populations.” They continue, “Pakistan’s demoralized public health workers must be supported by a robust international approach that combines both traditional diplomatic and imaginative political responses to draw on the powerful authority of the international Muslim community,” adding, “Saudi Arabia and its health authorities are uniquely placed to bring about change in Pakistan for two reasons.” They write, “First, as the site of Mecca and Medina and host to the Hajj, Saudi Arabia wields enormous influence in Muslim Pakistan. Second, Saudi Arabia has experience of introducing new public health recommendations and strengthening public health outreach by legitimizing new public health measures with both formal Islamic authority, in the form of fatwas, and informally, through public opinion” (5/4).
  • Christine Gorman, Scientific American’s “Observations” blog: “Scientific American’s editorial board strongly believes that the U.S. was wrong to mount a fake hepatitis B vaccination campaign in the effort to kill Osama bin Laden,” Gorman, editor in charge of health and medicine features for the magazine, writes. “Apart from moral issues, the blowback from the clandestine effort threatens the global campaign to eradicate polio from the face of the planet,” she continues, noting, “Polio still spreads in the wild in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan” (5/3).