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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Pakistan anti-polio drive gets bumpy

27th February 2007

Some Muslim clerics in Pakistan have expressed opposition to the country's campaign to eradicate polio, saying it is part of a plot to sterilise local people.


One cleric said in a sermon reported recently that finding a cure for an epidemic before it happened was against sharia, or Islamic law, adding that those who got killed during a disease outbreak were 'martyrs'.

He said it was hard to understand why foreigners would be interested in the well-being of Pakistan's children when they were killing Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Health officials admitted such views existed but said they were limited and highly localised.

Meanwhile, attempts to vaccinate children near the border with Afghanistan were hampered after a doctor involved in the campaign was killed by a roadside bomb, health officials said.

India, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the last remaining countries to have polio.

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