Developing World

Dear ED, The Today Program @ BBC…

POLIO ERADICATION STORY

There is a very different side of this news item that mainstream UK news is not mentioning, and I would like to know why?

New Delhi, Jan. 15:
“India’s health ministry, celebrating a year of freedom from wild polio, now faces a dilemma that public health experts had predicted years ago: the very vaccine it is using to fight polio is causing more polio paralysis than the wild poliovirus.”

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120116/jsp/frontpage/story_15011108.jsp

…. in reality, the incidence of limb-paralysis in children has increased after the Polio Eradication Initiative!

The Web site of the National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP) reveals that the number of cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) in children increased from 3,047 to 60,466 (20 times) during 1997 to 2011!

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/article2837352.ece?homepage=true

With many stories of forced vaccinations in the Developing World, where there is no compensation for ADRs, surely this makes a mockery of informed choice and state responsibility. For example, there were recently some arrests of teachers refusing entry of armed Polio vaccination teams to the school..

“We arrested some staff members but released them after they swore to cooperate with us.”

http://tribune.com.pk/story/330598/as-govt-teams-come-knocking-schools-face-dilemma-of-permitting-polio-vaccinations/

The ‘data’ may show less Polio in the developing World but at what cost?  Are the children healthier?  Is paralysis any less or is it just called by a different name?  Where is the journalistic quality here?  The UK found that the chances of developed polio from vaccine-derived polio virus (VDPV) were higher than from wild polio and changed to the inactive vaccine in 2004 …..

Furthermore, Polio is very much associated with poor clean water & sanitation and nutrition.  The WHO puts water as a first priority overall as a prevention to reduce mortality (vaccines are placed second) and UNICEF puts exclusive Breastfeeding first for reducing child mortality in the under 5s.  So why has UK spending on water programs reduced and where is the investment in promotion of Breastfeeding?

In comparison, £800,000,000 tax payers money was given to GAVI last June to increase the vaccination programs but where is evidence of better health outcomes overall?  Vaccines are not necessarily linked to better long term health but the presumption is left unchallenged.  Why is the UK Government not independently assessing this GAVI contract and why are your journalists not asking questions?

Please explain why the BBC does not even scratch the surface.

I look forward to your reply.

Samson & Goliath

Nicola Adolphe, Arnica member and researcher, had 45 minutes with Stephen O’Brien, International Development Minister in December. She was presenting data from the The Spirit Level which looked at breast feeding, water & sanitation, and nutrition having far greater outcomes than vaccines in all countries.  Dr Jayne Donegan was her partner.  The fact that this meeting even took place is an amazing start, thanks to Nicola and her MP Oliver Letwin.

The GAVI message of 5 million lives saved was embedded into the political mantra and as Comic Relief is now supporting GAVI I guess we have our work cut out!

The main item to follow up is that Oliver Letwin MP said that the WHO should monitor and compare the vaccinated countries and the unvaccinated, with the variable of breastfeeding uptake.   Unicef states on their site that Exclusive Breastfeeding is the single most effective intervention for preventing child deaths under a year.  And I much rather see a breast feeding mother poster any day, compared to a starving child with a needle in their arm.

The girls asked that the outcomes should not just be linked to ‘numbers’ of vaccines given but on health outcomes overall.  There was some stuttering but yes health outcomes were of course important.  As with any pledge I wonder if the ‘agreement’ has a ‘change of mind’ clause, just in case the health outcomes were not improved.  But it seems that monitoring this money and the safety of delivering millions of doses of vaccines is not a concern to Mr O’Brien.

The Minister wanted to leave all policy to the WHO and responsibility to GAVI, but considering that many GAVI board members have financial interests in the manufacture of vaccines and the WHO has missed some vital safety issues in the past, we shouldn’t be complacent.  It was admitted in the meeting that there is no evidence that live vaccines are safe for Aids sufferers (indeed the manufacturers advise against giving live vaccines to HIV and Aids patients).   The WHO sanctions this practice based only upon one study looking at HIV sufferers, not Aids.  A UK government aide offered that there also was no evidence of harm…. mmm, we will send them the Merck manual which states

“Immunocompromised patients should not receive live-virus vaccines, which could provoke severe or fatal infections.”

Anyway, thank you to all who wrote letters to your MPs, we will keep you in touch with the next phase.

Water will still be hot on the agenda as water is officially THE most effective intervention in the world say the HPA, yet just a few percent of Aid goes to water programs and this has dropped over the years.  Something just does not add up.

p.s.  I don’t suppose these news items will ring any bells for any one…
New neurological ‘Nodding Syndrome‘ in S Sudan – the CDC are looking into malnutrition as a possible cause.  I guess they will not look at the Polio vaccination as a possible cause?  6 million children were vaccinated in 2010 after mass drive, many of whom had several doses.  Malnutrition will be indicated of course but not to investigate a live vaccine, when neurological ADRs are the most reported serious ADR with vaccines, is a glaring omission.

Safety of Rota virus vaccine in HIV /AIDS babies

Dear Sir / Madam,  (to HIV agencies in Sudan)

I am requesting information about the safety procedures of administering the Rotavirus vaccine, introduced recently in Sudan, for babies under 6 months who may have infections, especially HIV.

The vaccine insert warns against this practice but I am interested to know how many babies are there in Sudan of this age who may have HIV or Aids, and what surveillance and testing is being done before vaccination? I was pleased to read that the WHO report on Sudan’s Rotavirus vaccine program stressing that “

the use of rotavirus vaccines should be part of a comprehensive strategy to control diarrhoeal diseases; this strategy should include, among other interventions, improvements in hygiene and sanitation, zinc supplementation, community-based administration of oral rehydration solution and overall improvements in case management.”

http://www.emro.who.int/sudan/news.htm

Breastfeeding must also be included in this comprehensive strategy.  For example, breastfed children are over 6 times less likely to die from diarrhea, The Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP) gives this important data: Exclusive breastfeeding means no other food or drink, not even water, is permitted, except for supplements of vitamins and minerals or necessary medicines. The optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding is six months (WHO 2001). A meta-analysis of three observational studies in developing countries shows that breastfed children under age 6 months are 6.1 times less likely to die of diarrhea than infants who are not breastfed (WHO Collaborative Study Team 2000).

http://www.dcp2.org/pubs/DCP/19/Section/2542

I look forward to hearing what strategies you have to support these sensible interventions and what safety protocol you will be following or supporting when vaccinating children who may already have an infection such as HIV or Aids.

Many thanks for your work in the area of health in Sudan and for your considered reply,

UNICEF’s role in prosecution of non vaccinating parents

Dear Sir / Madam, (To the UNICEF reps in Nigeria)

I am most concerned about Officials in Nigeria’s northern Kano state insisting that parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated against polio may be prosecuted and could face jail time.

(And that 131 children were vaccinated at gunpoint in Nsanje, Africa
http://www.malawivoice.com/latest-news/131-children-vaccinated-at-gunpoint-in-nsanje/)

The reason I am contacting you is that this government order issued this week comes as UNICEF had been pressuring Nigeria’s northern states to promote the polio Vaccination.

I was at the GAVI conference where a journalist asked about compensation and the question was avoided.  However, I am concerned that ‘promoters’ of health and vaccines would still want informed choice and a damage payment scheme, especially as many thousands of cases of paralytic Polio are vaccine induced.   If health prevention is forced surely it means ethically that you need to have a good safety surveillance in place, treatment and compensation, like we attempt to do in the West.

Polio can harm but so too can the vaccine…There are many cases of vaccine injury but here is a rare case of compensation

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/10-yrs-after-side-effects-of-polio-drop-kills-infant-court-orders?-govt-to-pay-rs-2-lakh-to-family/406758/

Further concern is that immunosuppressed individuals should not take the live Oral Polio Vaccine, including people with AIDS, HIV infection, other immunodeficiency diseases. Please see the vaccine insert from the manufacturer for contraindications.  Therefore, I wonder how babies are being tested for HIV and AIDs before being vaccinated with Polio.

My questions therefore are:

Do you support forced vaccination with threat of jail or at gunpoint?  If this is happening how will you respond?

How are vaccines delivered safely in response to the manufacturers own recommendations which are not to vaccinate those with infection?

How will vaccine damage monitored and be compensated?

I look forward to your considered reply,

Many Thanks

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