University of Birmingham explores attitudes toward polio vax in India

The U.K.'s University of Birmingham will join forces with India's Ravenshaw University in Orissa to launch a study about attitudes toward polio vaccination campaigns in India.

The two-year project will involve research into three groups: parents, community workers and those who implement polio campaigns, according to a release. Focus areas will cover ethical issues surrounding vaccination at large and address any issues raised by the empirical data collected.

The universities subsequently hope to build a relationship that will allow the two entities to collaborate in the future on teaching and research in ethics and history relating to health.

Polio--a contagious viral illness causing paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death--has not made an appearance in the United States since 1979. But despite the existence of a vaccine, the poliovirus still persists in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, according to the Mayo Clinic. India has been removed from the list of polio endemic countries and no cases have been reported recently.

"A lot of people in India do not opt for mass vaccination programs for a number of reasons," Angus Dawson, professor of public health ethics from the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said in a release. "We want to explore these reasons and bring about an attitudinal change."

- read the release