As we’ve seen, Muslim fundies are often anti-vaxxers. In places like Pakistan and Afghanistan, they’ve gotten it into their heads that polio-fighting programs are really Western-led campaigns to make Muslims infertile. As a result, terrorist groups have waged a long intimidation campaign against medical teams.
The Catholic Church has opposed a tetanus vaccination campaign scheduled to start next week that targets women between the ages of 19-49 years, claiming it is a secret government plan to sterilize women and control population growth.
It’s a perfectly good question, and Kenyan health authorities have a perfectly good answer:
The Chairman of the Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, the Rt Rev Paul Kariuki Njiru, and his deputy, the Rt Rev Joseph Mbatia, said the Ministry of Health intends to introduce the campaign in a low-key fashion without a big publicity campaign because they [the health workers] know they are up to no good… “Why should [the campaign] target women between the ages of 19-49 years; why has it left out young girls, boys and men if they are all prone to tetanus?”… the two asked at a press conference at St Patrick’s Pastoral Centre in Kabula, Bungoma County.
Tetanus is among the most common, lethal consequences of unclean deliveries and umbilical cord care practices, and has a 100 per cent death rate if not treated. [Kenya’s Head of Vaccine and Immunization Services Ephantus] Maree said Kenya is among the 28 countries in the world that have not eliminated tetanus since the WHO in 1989 called for its elimination by 1995. “In fact, we are lagging behind. We give the vaccine to women aged 14-49 because they are in the child-bearing age.”
Bishop Mbatia doesn’t believe it, claiming — without any apparent evidence that passes muster — that the vaccine has been administered in the Philippines, Nicaragua, and Mexico to prevent women from ever getting pregnant again.
The Kenyan Catholic Church is now using its considerable influence to thwart the anti-tetanus campaign. The BBC reports that
Catholic priests have been telling their congregations to boycott a campaign that begins on Monday to vaccinate women against tetanus. Some 40% of Kenyans are Catholics, and the Church warning could deter many women from getting vaccinated.
It beggars belief that these men think that one day they’ll get high-fives from their Maker despite the death and suffering they willfully created.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Joe for the link)