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Video: Parent by parent, rebuilding trust in vaccination in Pakistan

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Pakistan is facing a polio crisis from unvaccinated children, because health workers are viewed with distrust — if not outright targeted by the Taliban. (Why? In 2013, it was revealed that the CIA ran a fake vaccination campaign as cover to hunt for Bin Laden.)

This moving short film is part of a campaign to help rebuild trust, parent by parent, in the health system and vaccinations. TED Fellow Bassam Tariq, a filmmaker (and a Halal butcher), produced the film as a public service announcement aimed at Pakistani migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates. The point: to encourage them to get their children back home vaccinated. The film is being shown in cinemas and migrant camps in the UAE, on airline flights between the UAE and Pakistan, and on Pakistani television.

He tells the Fellows blog about Pakistan’s polio crisis and how he approached the subject.

“Polio is an escalating health crisis in Pakistan because people are reluctant to vaccinate their kids. Their mistrust stems from the discovery that the CIA had been pretending to vaccinate while gathering swab samples to find out where bin Laden and other Taliban leaders were. Because of that, the Taliban is now killing health workers. After the success of These Birds Walk on the festival circuit, I was approached by the Gates Foundation and Image Nation, an Abu Dhabi film group, and commissioned to do a piece that would speak to Pakistani men working abroad, as well as within Pakistan, about polio.

“Pakistani migrants are predominantly men, and they are usually marginalized and spoken down to when it comes to media messaging. So for us, it was important to be authentic and empathetic, and be a voice from home, when speaking about something as serious and urgent as polio.”

This piece first ran on the TED Fellows blog »