Religious Group Refuses Polio Immunisation

A religious sect in northeastern Kenya has refused to allow the vaccination of members' children against polio, the 'East African Standard' reported on Thursday. About 300 members of the banned 'Dini ya Musambwa' ('Religion of Tradition') sect rejected the proposed vaccination of children under five years of age, saying that the practice was "ungodly", and that the sect used traditional healing methods, the report stated. District Public Health Officer Stephen Porrot was quoted as saying that he had asked the local chief to educate the community on the importance of immunisation.

During a recent polio vaccination campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy told IRIN that it was important not to dismiss people's fears about immunisation but to educate them on its safety and benefits. "There's probably very little more safe than oral polio vaccine in terms of how many people it has saved from being crippled, and it's used all over the world," she said.