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Researchers Call for Stronger Efforts to End the Disease



From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

Researchers want new efforts to stop polio in countries where the disease never seems to disappear. They made the appeal in the publication PLOS Medicine. The researchers say stronger health systems and greater community involvement are needed in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. All three countries face attacks by militants, political unrest and a lack of trust among the populations.

Seye Abimbola works for Nigeria's National Primary Health Care Development Agency. He says it's time to share responsibility for ending polio. He has written that the world health community goal to end polio appears to be blinding it to lessons learned about health systems over the past 30 years.

Dr. Abimbola says parents often have reasonable concerns about the safety of vaccines. He also says some families may have lost children to diseases like pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea. A mother, he says, may wonder what the government is doing about other diseases. Dr. Abimbola says polio immunization should be part of a larger health program. He also says it is important to deal with people who distrust polio vaccines as human beings with real concerns not as an opponent. He says it is important to show militant groups that health interventions are necessary.


For example, aid agencies say there have been cases when even the Taliban in Afghanistan has supported immunization campaigns against polio. Seye Abimbola says the Afghan Taliban approves of action against polio. He says this is because, "When a militant group want to trust of the people, they go at it by trying to do what the people want."