A mass campaign was under way in the West Bank of the Jordan River on Sunday(23 April) in an effort to inoculate the entire Arab population of the area against smallpox.
A mass campaign was under way in the West Bank of the Jordan River on Sunday(23 April) in an effort to inoculate the entire Arab population of the area against smallpox. Israeli authorities hope to vaccinate all Arabs living in the region within ten days. On Sunday, Arab medical teams were inoculating residents of Khadar Village, near Bethlehem, and a Bedouin encampment in the Hebron Hills.
The mass campaign, which began on Saturday(22 April), was initiated after last month's outbreaks of smallpox in Bangladesh, Yugoslavia and various Arab countries. A number of people died from the disease.
The current campaign, which will also include Gaza and Sinai, is designed primarily to vaccinate the Araba. It's felt that people from neighbouring countries where recent outbreaks have occurred are more likely to contact Arabs than Israelis.
Arab medical teams are trying to vaccinate every resident, and each person inoculated will receive a vaccination certificate. In Khadar and other villages like it, people came freely to schools and other centres to receive their vaccinations.
But in some cases, the job is more difficult. Before doctors were able to vaccinate the Bedouins of the Rasheida tribe at their encampment in the Hebron Hills, they had to convince the Sheikh and the elders that the inoculations don't hurt and that they're for the benefit of the people. But finally, all 250 people in the encampment were vaccinated. It's estimated that there are some 2,400 Bedouins living on the West Bank.
SYNOPSIS: Residents of Khadar Village near Bethlehem, on the West Bank of the Jordan River, prepared themselves on Sunday for a mass inoculation against smallpox. The vaccination campaign began the day before and the Israeli authorities hope to inoculate all of the West Bank Arabs in ten days. The campaign was initiated after last month's outbreaks of smallpox in Bangladesh, Yugoslavia and certain Arab countries. In villages like Khadar, people come quite freely to schools and other centres for their vaccinations.
But the Arab medical teams carrying out the vaccinations have a much tougher time in the remoter Bedouin encampments, such as this one of the Rasheida tribe in the Hebron Hills.
There, the doctors first had to convince the Sheikh and the elders that the vaccinations didn't hurt and were for the good of the people.
The authorities are concentrating on the Arab population because it's felt that any contact from neighbouring countries where they've been outbreaks is more likely to be among Arabs than Israelis.
Finally, all 250 people here were vaccinated. There are an estimated 2,400 Bedouins on the West Bank and the inoculation campaign will also include Arabs in Gaza and Sinai.