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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Anti-polio vaccine Malians jailed
A Sudanese Red Crescent employee vaccinates a boy against polio in a refugee camp in Darfur
The UN is embarked on a major push to eradicate the polio virus across the world
A court in Mali has sentenced 11 men to up to three years in prison for refusing to let their children be vaccinated against polio.

Passing the sentences, the judge said the men were convicted of "resisting authority, disobedience and rebellion".

He said they were members of an obscure Muslim sect who believed only God could make people sick or save them.

They opposed the polio vaccination because they believed it would make their daughters sterile.

Several Muslim-dominated states in northern Nigeria banned the United Nations polio vaccination programme last year because some Imams denounced it as a western plot to spread infertility among African girls.

UN health workers said the result was a resurgence of the disease across several countries in West Africa.

Polio affects mostly young children and targets the nervous system.

It can lead to paralysis or even death.

UN launches key anti-polio push
08 Oct 04 |  Africa
Africa 'faces new polio threat'
24 Aug 04 |  Health

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