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Polio vaccination campaign hampered by rumours, ignorance CIKEUSAL - Holding her two-year-old son, Sari listens intently in a ramshackle health clinic as the medical staff assures her and other villagers about the safety of the vaccine being used to fight Indonesia's first polio outbreak in a decade. But the impoverished mother of two remains unconvinced. She hints she will not participate in Tuesday's countrywide immunization campaign because of unfounded rumours that a neighbour's child contracted polio after being given the oral vaccine earlier this year.

"I'm afraid. Maybe my boy will get paralysed," said Sari, who was among 62 per cent of parents in her village who refused to get their children vaccinated in June during a regional campaign on Java, the main island where most of the country's 226 polio cases have occurred. Such fears are threatening the biggest public health exercise ever mounted in Indonesia, whose rising caseload has the World Health Organization worried that the virus could spread throughout Southeast Asia.

Indonesian leaders are pulling out all stops to win over a public skeptical about the drive to vaccinate 24 million children under age five on Tuesday and then again on Sept. 27. The two largest Muslim organizations in the world's most populous Islamic country are endorsing vaccinations in TV ads, and busloads of soap opera stars and singers are making the rounds to promote a $24 million US campaign comparable in preparation to a general election.

More than 750,000 vaccinators will be on hand Tuesday at 245,000 posts set up at health clinics, bus depots, rail stations and airports. The army and police will help deliver vaccine - by plane, boat, bicycle and foot - to some of Indonesia's 6,000 inhabited islands. "The biggest challenge is public trust," said UNICEF's Claire Hajaj.

She works on the UN agency's global campaign to eradicate polio in the six countries where it remains endemic, as well as in Indonesia and 16 other countries that recently have been re-infected. "The key is that community fears get addressed and they don't turn into widespread vaccine avoidance," Hajaj said. A 20-month-old diagnosed with polio in March was the country's first case since 1995. Authorities believe the child caught it from a migrant worker or tourist who was infected in Africa or the Middle East.

Polio spreads when unvaccinated people come into contact with the feces of those with the virus, often through contaminated water in places with poor hygiene or inadequate sewage systems. It attacks the nervous system in children under five, causing paralysis, muscular atrophy and sometimes death, although only about one in 200 of those infected ever develops symptoms. The potential for the virus to spread beyond Indonesia's 210 million people has prompted East Timor, the Philippines and Thailand to launch smaller vaccination campaigns.


Link to related event Related event:
Polio in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Polio') Related blog entries (category 'Polio'):
07 August 2008 · Indonesia to execute 39 drug traffickers by 2009
26 August 2005 · Muslim body supports polio vaccinations
24 August 2005 · U.N. warns of possible Indonesia polio epidemic
08 August 2005 · Polio cases hit 205 in Indonesia, two in capital
22 July 2005 · Polio toll climbs to 155 in Indonesia


Posted in Polio @ 28 August 2005 11:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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34 new polio cases in Indonesia for total of 100


The World Health Organization on Tuesday reported 34 new polio cases in Indonesia, bringing the country's known total to 100. One of the new cases was confirmed on Sumatra, which until last week was polio-free.


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Polio vaccination drive largely successful


Indonesia's nationwide drive last week to vaccinate about 24 million young children against a spreading polio outbreak was largely successful though some parents continued to resist, health officials said Monday.


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