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VOA Examines Constitutional Debate In Nigeria Over Government’s Right To Require Polio Vaccination

“A constitutional debate is under way in Nigeria over whether the government can prosecute parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated against polio, or if it has the power to force parents to have their children vaccinated against any communicable disease,” VOA News reports. “The debate comes on the heels of a resolution by the government of Nigeria’s northern Kano state to prosecute any parent who refuses to have their children receive the oral vaccine against the highly contagious disease,” the news service notes.

According to VOA, “Rights advocates say a provision of Nigeria’s constitution protects the right of all Nigerians to privacy, including medical privacy, and give them a right to refuse treatment,” but “lawyers representing the country’s Primary Healthcare Agency argue that another provision gives government the right to intervene in situations where the health and life of other citizens are at stake, and to administer vaccine on all children without seeking their parents’ approval” (2/29).