Polio and peace

Pakistan is one of the two countries where polio remains endemic. Among multiple reasons of polio prevalence, (false) religious beliefs have been thought to be a major barrier towards polio immunization there. Researchers from USCI University Malaysia, have recently published [1] pleasing findings on this score, observing religious scholars to be engaged in campaigns to dismantle the myths and battle the resurgence of polio in Pakistan. The research assessed the knowledge, attitudes and perceived barriers towards polio immunization possessed by a sample 770 Muslim scholars in the Quetta and Peshawar divisions of Pakistan (where the polio risk is high). The study showed there to be poor knowledge of polio by a majority of the scholars surveyed, but positive attitudes towards immunization. Security was an issue to more than three-quarters of the participants.

In those countries where polio remains a threat, it is invariably civil strife and security problems that for decades have been thwarting efforts to rid the world of the scourge of polio.

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[1] Muhammad Umair Khan, Akram Ahmad, Saad Salman, Maria Ayub, Talieha Aqeel, Noman-ul Haq, Fahad Saleem, Muhammad Ubaid Khan. "Muslim Scholars’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Perceived Barriers Towards Polio Immunization in Pakistan." Journal of Religion and Health (Published online 17 September 2016) DOI 10.1007/s10943-016-0308-6