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MSU researchers travel to Nigeria to help with polio situation

Health Workers in Nigeria battle polio
Evan M. Wheeler
Health Workers in Nigeria battle polio

A team of Michigan State Universityresearchers is spending the next month in northern Nigerialooking at what the media can do to stem a surging polio outbreak.

 The region has the highest number of confirmed polio cases in the world and the outbreak has been spreading through west Africa.

 Folu Ogundimu is an associate professor of journalism at MSU.   He says the problem is local religious leaders and others are fighting efforts to get people vaccinated against polio.  He says they claim it’s just a western plot to spread the AIDS virus or sterilize Muslim women.

 The researchers hope to develop a media plan to convince people in northern Nigeria to accept the polio vaccine.

 The MSU team left for Nigeria this weekend. They are scheduled to return to East Lansing at the end of January.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.