Monthly Archives: May 2012

Vaccinating remote communities – what’s the point?

Don’t get me wrong I quite like the actor Ewan McGregor and and commend his efforts with UNICEF but after seeing two episodes of a new BBC series called: Ewan McGregor: Cold Chain Mission I was left a bit puzzled. Now, I can understand the logic behind vaccinating where there is a high density of people particularly when the sanitary conditions are not great. However, in this series the aim is to vaccinate children in the remotest regions of the planet. The first programme Ewan travelled to India then to a remote region of Nepal to deliver polio vaccines where it takes a plane ride in a small plane and then a hike over two mountains to get there. What doesn’t make sense to me is that polio (poliomyelitis to give it its full name) as far as I know is an infectious disease, i.e. for a person to get it you need another person to have it. Now, if these communities are healthy and live in remote areas, then surely the likelihood of contracting an infectious disease such as polio are very small I would argue. However, it seems odd to seek them out by people from populated areas and western countries (who may be carrying some of these viruses), i.e. UNICEF in order to ‘save them’..More worrying is the huge rise in Japanese Encephalitis cases in the same region of India (Uttah Pradesh) where they have been embarking on a polio eradication mission since 2005 – see Gaia Health