Parents who do not allow their children to be administered the polio vaccine (Read: 78 Percent of Pakistani Children with Polio were Given Polio Vaccines) are now facing jail time for defying a government order in one of Africa’s most populous nations. Tajuddeen Gambo, the permanent secretary of the Kano state health ministry, said that Nigeria has a law that punishes parents who do not succumb to government demands to vaccinate their children.
“Polio immunisation is part of health care,” Gambo said.
Kano state is located at the heart of Nigeria’s impoverished and Muslim-dominated north where polio vaccines have been met with resistance by a minority, but health officers say that minority is enough to compromise the entire door-to-door campaign.
“When they come to my house, I will tell them there are no children in this house,” says a 45-year-old politician in the village of Dungurawa, just outside the city of Kano.