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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 11:18 GMT
Nigeria's Muslim clerics fear polio vaccine
By Anna Borzello
BBC, Lagos

The global campaign to eradicate polio by 2005 is being threatened by the resurgence of the disease in the far north of Nigeria.

Child getting the polio vaccine
Muslim clerics says the vaccines is laced with infertility drugs
Despite this, an immunisation programme has been put on hold because of claims by Muslim clerics that the vaccine is being deliberately contaminated as part of a western plot.

Last August the northern Nigerian state of Kano suspended the campaign and set up a committee to investigate the claims.

In the predominantly Muslim region where anti-American sentiments often run high, the idea that the polio vaccine is part of a US plot to render women in the developing world infertile quickly took hold.

Radiating

There were hopes that it would all blow over within a few months, but in January the committee said that they had found traces of the reproductive hormone oestrogen in the vaccine.

HAVE YOUR SAY
These are political games to the detriment of the innocent kids
Harrahs Malinda, Kenya/Germany

The federal government met state officials earlier this week to try and resolve the problem, but so far they have been unsuccessful and the immunisation programme remains on hold.

Kano is at the epicentre of a polio outbreak and the virus is now radiating out from the region.

It has re-emerged in a number of Nigerian states as well as neighbouring countries.

There are also concerns that the controversy surrounding the polio vaccine could stop parents in Kano from immunising their children against other dangerous diseases like measles and meningitis.




SEE ALSO:
Nigeria debates polio campaign
22 Dec 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Nigeria
17 Dec 03  |  Country profiles


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