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Between 2007-2020, 27% rise in the proportion of Pakistanis who believe Polio drops do not cause sterility (Gallup & Gilani Pakistan Poll)


Islamabad, April 02, 2020

In a Gallup & Gilani Pakistan National Survey conducted in the year 2007, respondents were asked “Some people believe that polio drops contain some kind of drug which causes sterility in children, while some others disagree. What is your opinion?” In response, 14% said yes, claiming Polio drops did contain some sort sterility causing drug, while 58% said no and 28% did not or did not respond.

Comparative Picture: This question was asked again in 2020 to enable a comparison to be made across the years. In 2020, 7% said yes, claiming Polio drops did contain some kind of drug which causes sterility among children, 85 said no and 8% did not know/ did not respond.

Implication of this finding: Pakistan is one of the last frontiers of global war against Polio. Among many of the behavioral factors identified that inhibits families to inoculate against polio are misconceptions and conspiracy theories. One such conspiracy theory which is prevalent not just in Pakistan but elsewhere in world as well is that polio drops cause sterility in male children. For years many campaigns have tried to address this misconception and the results of this survey indicates that campaigns seem to be working as observed by the steady decline seen in last few years. The poll however also points that a long battle is still need of the hour considering the current level of misperception.

This press release has been made as part of the Gallup Pakistan History Project which aims to release historical empirical polling data to wider audiences. The objective is to sustain and encourage empirical decision making in Pakistan.