The departure of Doctors Without Borders comes at a particularly bad time because of a recent polio outbreak. A l Shabaab opposition to polio vaccinations led to this new outbreak of the disease. Some 600,000 children in southern Somalia and refugee camps in northern Kenya have not been vaccinated, mainly because of al Shabaab opposition and general chaos. The first case was detected i n Kenya three months ago when a Somali child in a refugee camp came down with it. Five years ago the UN announced that a ten year effort to eradicate polio (by vaccinating nearly every child under five) had succeeded and that Somalia was free of the paralyzing (and often fatal) disease (which can only survive in humans). But to make that eradication permanent follow-up vaccinations had to be given and al Shabaab interfered with that. So in the last three months over a hundred kids in Somalia and Kenyan refugee camps have come down with polio. Last year there were only 223 cases worldwide.
Polio should have been eliminated entirely by now, but there has been resistance from Islamic clergy in some countries, who insist the vaccinations are a Western plot to harm Moslem children. This has enabled polio to survive in some Moslem countries (especially Nigeria and Pakistan). The disease also survives in some very corrupt nations, like Kenya and India, because of the difficulty in getting vaccine to remote areas and tracking down nomad groups. In response to this latest outbreak Kenya will carry out more vaccinations in Kenya and help do the same in dangerous parts of Somalia.
indeed, quite a few Muslim medical workers have been killed in Pakistan/Afghanistan because they were vaccinating against polio.
I'd like to do a blast about the ignorant, but in this case, the "Rumors" about evil polio vaccines started in the UK Press, when someone wrote a story about polio vaccine being associated with the spread of HIV. The core of the rumor was that an early form of one polio vaccine had a virus associated with cancer in monkeys, (Not HIV) but since we haven't seen an epidemic of a similar cancer in humans, and since the vaccine manufacturing methods have changed, the story was like the others about whooping cough vaccine causing brain damage or MMR vaccine causing autism.
The high fever reaction to the old whooping cough vaccine was sometimes thought to be associated with a form of mental retardation (or maybe the kids just happened to get a low grade viral encephalitis and the timing with getting the vaccine was a coincidence) but so many parents refused to let their kids get the shot that it led to 40 thousand cases of that disease in the UK, with a half dozen deaths (and sometimes the kids cough so hard they end up with strokes, but never mind). As for MMR: One of the unsung stories is that giving that delicate vaccine has saved literally millions of lives.
I should note that hitting hospitals and killing docs right now is usually by terrorists inspired by a radical/fascist form of Islam, but when I was a doc, it was the communist insurgents, funded by the very politically correct World Council of churches, who killed quite a few of us. The reason I say "very politically correct" is that in those days, the WCC never condemned Russia or persecution of churches behind the Iron curtain either, but of course, in those days, the US Catholic bishops let their radical leftists write and release a paper suggesting unilateral disarmament of US nuclear weapons....
see no evil, hear no evil by the naive.
One is reminded of the famous essay about the children of light vs the children of Darkness: Jesus said he wished the children of light were half as smart in these things as the children of darkness, and the famous Niebuhr essay laments how good people blithely became allies of evil because they underestimated the strength of selfishness. Heh.
Even that nice liberal writer couldn't say: Look some people just need killing.
and ironically, after a fluffy essay about his influence, someone in wikipedia noted this:
Because of his opinion about factory work, Niebuhr rejected liberal optimism. He wrote in his diary:
The historian Ronald H. Stone thinks that Niebuhr never talked to the assembly line workers (many of his parishioners were skilled craftsmen) but projected feelings onto them after discussions with Rev. Samuel Marquis.
- We went through one of the big automobile factories to-day. . . . The foundry interested me particularly. The heat was terrific. The men seemed weary. Here manual labour is a drudgery and toil is slavery. The men cannot possibly find any satisfaction in their work. They simply work to make a living. Their sweat and their dull pain are part of the price paid for the fine cars we all run. And most of us run the cars without knowing what price is being paid for them. . . . We are all responsible. We all want the things which the factory produces and none of us is sensitive enough to care how much in human values the efficiency of the modern factory costs.".
Since my neighbors growing up and most of my patients were blue collar workers, I am happy someone had the nerve to point this out.