Het verband tussen militant islamisme en vaccinscepsis

LONDEN – Hoe we polio kunnen uitroeien weten we. Sinds de jaren tachtig heeft een internationaal vaccinatieprogramma geleid door de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) het virus tot op punt van uitsterven gebracht. Waar vroeger jaarlijks een half miljoen mensen door de ziekte gedood of verlamd werden zijn dat er nu nog maar enkele honderden.

En het zijn geen medische of technische beperkingen die uitroeiing van het virus in de weg staan; het is de politieke weerstand tegen vaccinatieprogramma’s. Het is dan ook zo dat de weinige gebieden waar het virus nog steeds weet te overleven zorgwekkende overeenkomsten vertonen. 95% van de poliogevallen sinds 2012 komt voort uit slechts vijf landen (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalië, en Syrië), die allemaal het decor zijn van islamistische opstanden. Als we polio uit willen roeien moeten we het verband tussen deze twee zaken weten te doorgronden.

Islamistische oppositie tegen vaccinatieprogramma’s wordt vaak toegeschreven aan het geloof dat vaccins een Westers complot zijn om schade aan moslims toe te brengen, en dat ze kinderen steriliseren, geïnfecteerd zijn met HIV, of varkensvlees bevatten. Het is van belang hier op te merken dat de jihadisten in Syrië en Afghanistan poliovaccinatieprogramma’s grotendeel hebben gesteund. Als we het virus willen verslaan moeten we de karikatuur van de moslim als gewelddadige fanaat die tegen Westerse wetenschap is naast ons neerleggen en grondig de verschillende specifieke politieke contexten bestuderen waarin pogingen tot uitroeiing tot nu onsuccesvol zijn geweest.

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