Title

Muslim scholars' knowledge, attitudes and perceived barriers towards polio immunization in Pakistan.

Document Type

Article

Department

Surgery

Abstract

Abstract

Pakistan is one of the two countries where polio remains endemic. Among multiple reasons of polio prevalence, false religious beliefs are accounted as major barriers towards polio immunization in Pakistan. Within this context, religious scholars are now engaged in polio immunization campaigns to dismantle the myths and battle the resurgence of polio in Pakistan. The objective of this study was to assess knowledge, attitudes and perceived barriers of Muslim scholars towards polio immunization in Pakistan. A descriptive, cross-sectional survey of Muslim scholars was conducted in Quetta and Peshawar divisions of Pakistan. From October to December 2015, a convenience sample of 770 Muslim scholars was recruited from the local mosques and religious institutions to participate in this study. Knowledge, attitudes, and perceived barriers were assessed by using self-administered, anonymous and pretested questionnaire. Descriptive and regression analyses were used to express the results with p < 0.05 taken as significant. Three hundred and forty-eight (45.2 %) participants exhibited good knowledge about polio with a mean score of 7.16 ± 2.12 (based on 14 questions). Knowledge gaps were identified about the transmission (32.6 %) and consequences of poliovirus (39.9 %). Overall, 527 (68.4 %) participants showed positive attitudes towards polio immunization with a mean attitude score of 27.35 ± 2.68 (based on nine statements). The majority of participants agreed on the need of depoliticizing polio immunization issues (87.1 %), while reservations were noted about their willingness to participate in future polio immunization programs (44.6 %). Security (75.8 %) and vaccine management issues (64 %) were reported by the participants as the major barriers towards polio immunization in Pakistan. The findings showed poor knowledge of Muslim scholars towards polio; however, their attitudes were positive towards polio immunization. More studies are required to assess the knowledge and attitudes of Muslim scholars at the national level to validate the findings of this study.

Publication

J Relig Health