Turkish Ministry of Health Injects Kurdish Children with Deadly Vaccine
Measles vaccines that were injected to children in the Kurdish provinces of Urfa, Diyarbakır and Batman during the rule of Osman Durmuş, the former minister of health of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have led thousands of children to death and disability, DIHA (Dicle News Agency) reported.
In Urfa, there are 500 children suffering from SSPE, an illness caused by measles, Feyyat Kaya, the head of the Urfa Association for Solidarity with SSPE Patients said:
They live on liquids. We feed them with liquid food such as pudding, banana, peach and milk.
Families whose children are melting before their eyes day by day are reacting to the state authorities who remain unconcerned with the health of their children despite the many promises they have made. The families keep asking:
Why is this illness so common only in this region. The government has done nothing to help.
Thousands of children in the Kurdish cities have come down with Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE) as a result of the stale measles vaccines injected to children under the former Ministry of Health governed by Osman Durmuş of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Many children have lost their lives due to the illness.
The children have become ill because of the measles vaccines injected during the Ministry of Durmuş, between 1998 and 2001, Feyyat Kaya said. “Why is this illness so prevalent in the south eastern cities?” he asked.
The general information that infection occurs in the brain of one child in a million after s/he comes down with measles is not correct, Kaya explained.
Most of our patients have not caught measles. And this number is much higher than “one in a million”. When doctors do not have anything to respond to us, they put the blame on “stale vaccines”. Some government authorities also admit the use of stale vaccines, though not officially.
Kaya said that they did not have any personal financial demands:
We just want our children to get treatment. Hayrünnisa Gül, wife of the President Abdullah Gül, came to Urfa and said that she would take care of those children. But nothing has been done yet. The care of patients suffering from this illness is very expensive. We have patients whose families cannot afford it.
According to the Provincial Directorate of Health, the number of patients with SSPE in Urfa is 300 but their own research has revealed the fact that at least 500 children suffer from this illness, Kaya stated. “They say that there are no cases of SSPE any more but new patients are emerging every day.”
Kaya emphasized that the number of patients are especially high in Kurdish cities such as Urfa, Diyarbakır and Batman:
If there are 5 patients in Istanbul, there are 500 in Urfa, and 700 in Diyarbakır. Batman is also the same. We only want the authorities to do research into this illness and provide us with a treatment.
Parents of the 13-year-old Veysel Çoban, who has been suffering from SSPE for about 6 years, are reacting to the authorities as their child is melting before their eyes. Mehmet Çoban, Veysel’s father, said:
The ministers and authorities who have come to Urfa have done nothing for our child. Nobody is asking why this child is sick. İbrahim Ayhan, the imprisoned MP of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), was the only politician who submitted a parliamentary question, requesting an investigation into our situation. We would like to thank him on behalf of the families of all patients.
Doctors say that there is no treatment for our child’s illness and tell us to go and fend for ourselves.
Sadık Kaya, father of the 18-year-old Cihan Kaya who has been suffering from SSPE for 8 years, said that they have requested the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister’s spouse Emine Erdoğan and Minister Faruk Çelik to provide treatment for their children but no one has paid attention to their request.
Update: It was wrongly stated that the vaccine was given between 1998 and 2011. It was in fact given between 1998 and 2001.