London: A top British University is planning to undertake a new research study looking
at ethics, policy and practice concerning polio immunisation in India.
University of Birmingham is working with Ravenshaw University in the eastern Indian
state of Orissa on the new research project, a press release by the University said.
Although India has been removed from the list of polio endemic countries,
misconceptions still remain around polio vaccination within the country, the release said.
The two-year project will gather relevant empirical evidence about attitudes to polio
vaccination campaigns in Orissa from three key groups - parents, community workers
and those involved in planning and implementing the campaign, such as government
officials, it said.
While no cases of polio have been officially reported recently in the state, the research
team will study more remote tribal areas where facilities are less developed, the release
The study will outline and systematically explore the ethical issues that arise in relation to
vaccination in general, as well as the issues raised by the empirical material gathered as
part of the project, it said.
The project aims to initiate a long-standing collaboration between the University of
Birmingham and Ravenshaw in terms of both teaching and research in ethics and history
relating to health, it added.
The first of a series of interdisciplinary research workshops will be held in Bhubaneswar
in early December to widen the areas of discussion and seek topics for further joint work
in the future.
"A lot of people in India do not opt for mass vaccination programmes for a number of
reasons. We want to explore these reasons and bring about an attitudinal change", Angus
Dawson, Professor of Public Health Ethics from the College of Medical and Dental
Sciences at the University of Birmingham said.