The following blog posts were published in response to a series of attacks against polio workers in Pakistan this week, which have left eight dead since Monday.
Amanda Glassman, Center for Global Development's "Global Health Policy" blog: "Suspicions of CIA involvement in the campaign have been identified as causes of the attacks" against polio workers in Pakistan this week, Glassman, director of global health policy and a senior fellow at the center, writes in a joint post with Charles Kenny, also a senior fellow at the center. "Using childhood vaccination as a tool of terror brings our collective humanity to a new low," they write, adding, "[I]t is in our own interest to make crystal clear that the U.S. supports global public health programs to improve global health alone and that U.S.-backed public health interventions will not be used to gather intelligence," as was done by the CIA with a hepatitis B vaccine campaign in Pakistan (12/19).
Peter Hotez, Houston Chronicle's "Baker Institute Blog": "Because achieving high vaccination coverage rates in Pakistan is absolutely central to meeting global polio eradication targets, the murder of the ... innocent workers who were killed as they went door-to-door providing oral polio vaccines to children is likely to have a chilling effect," Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, writes. "Reports in the news indicate that the government of Pakistan is committed to resuming polio eradication efforts in their country," he continues, adding, "I would ultimately like to see the Pakistan health ministry expand its control efforts to many neglected diseases" (12/19).
Michael Specter, The New Yorker's "News Desk": "Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks [against polio workers in Pakistan this week], but the Taliban has opposed polio vaccination vigorously," New Yorker staff writer Specter states, adding, "Taliban leaders have issued several religious edicts saying that the U.S. runs a spy network under the guise of a vaccine program." He continues, "[A]s I wrote in a post here more than a year ago, the claim about the CIA is not entirely untrue," and he concludes, "[W]e should hold the killers responsible for this terrible reversal. But at least some of blame lies in the swamplands of Langley, Virginia" (12/18).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.