Very sad situation in North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, as parents won't allow their children to be vacinated against polio, and this crippling disease is on the rise there:
"LAHORE: The parents of 24,000 children in northern Pakistan refused to allow health workers to administer polio vaccinations last month, mostly due to rumours that the harmless vaccine was an American plot to sterilise innocent Muslim children, The Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday."
"The disinformation - spread by extremist clerics using mosque loudspeakers and illegal radio stations, and by word of mouth - has caused a sharp jump in polio cases in Pakistan and hit global efforts to eradicate the debilitating disease, the newspaper said. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recorded 39 cases of polio in Pakistan in 2006, up from 28 in 2005."
"The NWFP government made strenuous efforts to counter talk of an “infidel vaccine”. Health workers fanning across the province last month were equipped with copies of a fatwa (religious order), endorsing the vaccinations and signed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the leaders of Pakistan’s most powerful religious parties."
"....Aid workers fear they are being pushed into the frontline of the struggle between the government and tribal militants. Last weekend a grenade was lobbed into a Red Crescent compound in Peshawar, damaging vehicles but killing nobody. Cleric Mufti Khalid Shah declared a fatwa on employees of the UN, WHO and all other foreign organisations. “Killing their employees is in line with the teachings of jihad in Islam,” said a notice. Recently aid workers in Bannu were threatened with death."