WHO Officials, Islamic Leaders To Meet In Egypt To Discuss Attacks On Polio Workers

“Top World Health Organization officials and Islamic leaders will meet in Egypt next week in an effort to stop attacks on polio workers, which are hampering the eradication of the virus in some countries with large Muslim populations,” Reuters reports, noting, “Gunmen in Pakistan and Nigeria have killed more than 20 health workers in the past three months in a series of attacks linked to a backlash against the immunization program against the crippling virus.” WHO Assistant Director-General for Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration Bruce Aylward told Reuters in Canberra on Friday, “Shooting health workers who are protecting kids from this crippling disease is against the Koran and everything Islam stands for,” the news agency notes. “The WHO has successfully eliminated polio from most nations after a 25-year campaign, but the crippling condition remains endemic in three nations, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, where some influential Muslim leaders have opposed the program as a conspiracy of western medicine,” Reuters writes (Grubel, 2/28).