measles in africa, vaccination africa, measles

Measles deaths in Africa

The following article is by Greg Beattie, author of Vaccination: A Parent’s Dilemma and the more recent Fooling Ourselves on the Fundamental Value of Vaccines. It was originally published on the REAL Australian Sceptics blog and bears repeating.

This information and the graphs included are excerpted from Mr Beattie’s latest book. It demonstrates very clearly that a true sceptic will not necessarily believe in headlines such as “Measles deaths in Africa plunge by 91%” without seeing the proof of those claims. Question everything – accept nothing at face value – that is the credo of the true sceptic.

Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
Bertrand Russell

Africa, measles africa, vaccination africa
0.450–0.499 0.400–0.449 0.350–0.399 0.300–0.349 under 0.300 n/a (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are not one to follow the news, you may have missed it. Others will have undoubtedly seen a stream of good-newsstories over the past five years, such as:

Measles Deaths In Africa Plunge By 91%[1],[2]

There have been many versions on the theme; the percentage rates have changed over time. However, the bodies of the stories leave us in no doubt as to the reason for their headlines. Here are some direct quotes:

In a rare public health success story on the world’s most beleaguered continent, Africa has slashed deaths from measles by 91 per cent since 2000 thanks to an immunization drive.

An ambitious global immunization drive has cut measles deaths…

Measles deaths in Africa have fallen as child vaccination rates have risen.

These stories represent a modern-day version of the belief that vaccines vanquished the killer diseases of the past. There is something deeply disturbing about the stories, and it is not immediately apparent. The fact is: no-one knows how many people died of measles in Africa. No-one! Not last year and not ten years ago.

I will repeat that. No-one knows how many measles deaths have occurred in Africa. So, where did these figures come from? I will explain that in this blog. In a nutshell, they were calculated on a spreadsheet, using a formula. You may be surprised when you see how simple the method was.

We all believe these stories, because we have no reason to doubt them. The only people who would have questioned them were those who were aware that the deaths had not been counted. One of these was World Health Organisation (WHO) head of Health Evidence and Statistics, who reprimanded the authors of the original report (on which the stories were based) in an editorial published in the Bulletin of the WHO, as I will discuss shortly. Unfortunately, by then the train was already runaway. The stories had taken off virally through the worldwide media.

Overview

First, an overview of the formula. The authors looked at it this way: for every million vaccines given out, we hope to save ‘X’ lives. From that premise, we simply count how many million vaccines we gave out, and multiply that by ‘X’ to calculate how many lives (we think) we have saved. That is how the figures were arrived at.

The stories and the formula are both products of a deep belief in the power of vaccines. We think the stories report facts, but instead they report hopes.

The nuts and bolts

Hardly any of the willing participants in spreading the stories bothered to check where the figures came from, and what they meant. That was possibly understandable. Why would we need to check them? After all, they were produced by experts: respected researchers, and reputable organisations such as UNICEF, American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, and the World Health Organisation.

However, I did check them. I checked because I knew the developing world wasn’t collecting cause of death data that could provide such figures[3]. In fact, it is currently estimated that only 25 million of the 60 million deaths that occur each year are even registered, let alone have reliable cause-of-death information[4]. Sub-Saharan Africa, where a large proportion of measles deaths are thought to occur, still had an estimated death registration of only around 10%[5] in 2006, and virtually no reliable cause-of-death data. Even sample demographic surveys, although considered accurate, were not collecting cause-of-death data that allowed for these figures to be reported. Simply put, this was not real data: the figures had to be estimates.

I was curious as to how the estimates were arrived at, so I traced back to the source—an article in The Lancet, written by a team from the Measles Initiative[6]. After reading the article, I realised the reports were not measles deaths at all. They were planning estimates, or predictions. In other words, they represented outcomes that the Measles Initiative had hoped to achieve, through conducting vaccination programs.

Don’t get me wrong. We all know that planning and predicting are very useful, even necessary activities, but it is obvious they are not the same as measuring outcomes.

The title of the original report from the Measles Initiative reads, “Has the 2005 measles mortality reduction goal been achieved? A natural history modelling study.[7] The authors took one and a half pages to explain how natural history modelling applied here. I will simplify it in about ten lines. I realise that in doing so, some may accuse me of editorial vandalism, however I assure you what follows captures the essence of the method. The rest is detail. If you are interested in confirming this, I urge you to read the original article for that detail. Here we go… the formula at the heart of the stories:

My interpretation of the Measles Natural History Modelling Study

  1. Open a blank spreadsheet
  2. Enter population data for each year from 2000 to 2006
  3. Enter measles vaccine coverage for each of the years also
  4. Assume all people develop measles if not vaccinated
  5. Assume vaccination prevents 85-95% of measles cases
  6. Calculate how many measles cases were ‘prevented’ each year (using the above figures)
  7. Calculate how many measles deaths were ‘prevented’ each year (using historical case-fatality ratios)

There, simple. As you can see, this is a typical approach if we are modelling,for predictive purposes. Using a spreadsheet to predict outcomes of various plans helps us set targets, and develop strategies. When it comes to evaluating the result of our plan however we need to go out into the field, and measure what happened. We must never simply return to the same spreadsheet. But this is precisely what the Measles Initiative team did. And the publishing world swallowed it—hook, line and sinker.

As mentioned earlier, WHO Health Evidence and Statistics head, Dr Kenji Shibuya, saw the problem with this method. Writing editorially in the Bulletin of the WHO, under the title “Decide monitoring strategies before setting targets”, Shibuya had this to say[8]:

Unfortunately, the MDG[9] monitoring process relies heavily on predicted statistics.

…the assessment of a recent change in measles mortality from vaccination is mostly based on statistics predicted from a set of covariates… It is understandable that estimating causes of death over time is a difficult task. However, that is no reason for us to avoid measuring it when we can also measure the quantity of interest directly; otherwise the global health community would continue to monitor progress on a spreadsheet with limited empirical basis. This is simply not acceptable. [emphasis mine]

This mismatch was created partly by the demand for more timely statistics …and partly by a lack of data and effective measurement strategies among statistics producers. Users must be realistic, as annual data on representative cause-specific mortality are difficult to obtain without complete civil registration or sample registration systems

If such data are needed, the global health community must seek indicators that are valid, reliable and comparable, and must invest in data collection (e.g. adjusting facility-based data by using other representative data sources).

Regardless of new disease-specific initiatives or the broader WHO Strategic Objectives, the key is to focus on a small set of relevant indicators for which well defined strategies for monitoring progress are available. Only by doing so will the global health community be able to show what works and what fails.

In simple terms, Shibuya was saying:

  • We know it is difficult to estimate measles deaths, but
  • You should have tried, because you attracted a lot of interest
  • Instead, you simply went back to the same spreadsheet you used to make the plan—and that is unacceptable!
  • If you want to make a claim about your results, you need to measure the outcomes and collect valid data
  • Until you do, you cannot say whether your plan ‘worked’

Unfortunately, by the time Shibuya’s editorial was published, the media had already been trumpeting the stories for more than a year, because the Measles Initiative announced its news to a waiting media before subjecting it to peer-review. So, without scientific scrutiny, the stories were unleashed into a world hungry for good news, especially concerning the developing world. The result… the reports were welcomed, accepted, and regurgitated to a degree where official scrutiny now seems to have the effect of a drop in a bucket.

The question of who was responsible for this miscarriage of publishing justice plagued me for a while. Was it the architects of the original report? Or was it the robotic section of our media (that part that exists because of a lack of funds for employing real journalists) who spread the message virally to every corner of the globe, without checking it?

One quote which really stands out in the stories is from former director of the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“The clear message from this achievement is that the strategy works,” said CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding

What strategy works? Is she talking about modelling on a spreadsheet? Or, using the predictions in place of real outcomes? More recent reports from the Measles Initiative indicate the team are continuing with this deceptive approach. In their latest report[10] it is estimated 12.7 million deaths were averted between 2000-2008. All were calculated on their spreadsheet, and all were attributed to vaccination, for the simple reason that it was the only variable on the spreadsheet that was under their control. And still there is no scrutiny of the claims. Furthermore, the authors make no effort to clarify in the public mind that the figures are nothing but planning estimates.

No proof

Supporters of vaccination might argue that this does not prove vaccines are of no use. I agree. In fact,let me say it first: none of this provides any evidence whatsoever of the value of vaccination. That is the crux of the matter. The media stories have trumpeted the success of the plan, and given us all a pat on the back for making it happen. But the stories are fabrications. The only aspect of them which is factual is that which tells us vaccination rates have increased.

Some ‘real’ good-news?

General mortality rates in Africa are going down. That means deaths from all causesare reducing. How do we know this? Because an inter-agency group, led by UNICEF and WHO, has been evaluating demographic survey data in countries that do not have adequate death registration data. These surveys have been going on for more than 50 years. One of the reasons they do this is to monitor trends in mortality; particularly infant, and under-five mortality.

Although the health burden in developing countries is inequitably high, there is reason to be positive when we view these trends. Deaths are declining and, according to the best available estimates, have been steadily doing so for a considerable time; well over 50 years.

One of the most useful indicators of a country’s health transition is its under-5 mortality rate: that is, the death rate for children below five years old. The best estimates available for Africa show a steady decline in under-5 mortality rate, of around 1.8% per year, since 1950[11]. Figure 1 shows this decline from 1960 onward[12]. It also shows the infant mortality rate[13]. Both are plotted as averages of all countries in the WHO region of Africa.

Figure 1. Child mortality, Africa

This graph may appear complex, but it is not difficult to read. The two thick lines running horizontally through the graph are the infant (the lower blue line) and under-5 (the upper black line) mortality rates per 1000 from 1960 to 2009. The handful of finer lines which commence in 1980, at a low point, and shoot upward over the following decade, represent the introduction of the various vaccines. The vertical scale on the right side of the graph shows the rate at which children were vaccinated with each of these shots.

The primary purpose of this graph (as well as that in Figure 2) is to deliver the real good-news. We see a slowly, but steadily improving situation. Death rates for infants and young children are declining. I decided to add the extra lines (for vaccines) to illustrate that they appear to have had no impact on the declining childhood mortality rates; at least, not a positive impact. If they were as useful as we have been led to believe, these vaccines (covering seven illnesses) would surely have resulted in a sharp downward deviation from the established trend. As we can see, this did not occur.

In Africa, the vaccines were introduced at the start of the 1980s and, within a decade, reached more than half the children. The only effect observable in the mortality rates, is a slowing of the downward trend. In other words, if anything were to be drawn from this, it would be that the introduction of the vaccines was counter-productive. One could argue that the later increase in vaccine coverage (after the year 2000) was followed by a return to the same decline observed prior to the vaccines. However, that does not line up. The return to the prior decline predates it, by around five years.

With both interpretations we are splitting hairs. Since we are discussing an intervention that has been marketed as a modern miracle, we should see a marked effect on the trend. We don’t.

The WHO region of Africa (also referred to as sub-Saharan Africa) is where a substantial portion of the world’s poor-health burden is thought to exist. The country that is believed to share the majority of worldwide child mortality burden with sub-Saharan Africa is India, in the WHO south-east Asia region. Together, the African and South-east Asian regions were thought in 1999 to bear 85% of the world’s measles deaths[14]. Figure 2 shows India’s declining infant and under-5 mortality rates, over the past 50 years. Again, the introduction of various vaccines is also shown.

Figure 2. Child mortality, India

And again, vaccines do not appear to have contributed. Mortality rates simply continued their steady decline. We commenced mass vaccination (for seven illnesses) from the late 1980s but there was no visible impact on the child mortality trends.

In a nutshell, what happened in the developed world is still happening in the yet-to-finish-developing world, only it started later, and is taking longer. The processes of providing clean water, good nourishment, adequate housing, education and employment, freedom from poverty, as well as proper care of the sick, have been on-going in poor countries.

I would have loved to go back further in time with these graphs but unfortunately I was not able to locate the data. I did uncover one graph in an issue of the Bulletin of the WHO, showing the under-5 mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa to be an estimated 350 in 1950[15]. It subsequently dropped to around 175 by 1980, before vaccines figured. It continued dropping, though slower, to 129 by 2008[16].

The decline represents a substantial health transition, and a lot of lives saved. When cause-of-death data improves, or at least some genuine effort is made to establish credible estimates of measles deaths, it will undoubtedly be found they are dropping as well. Why wouldn’t they? This is good news, and all praise needs to be directed at the architects and supporters of the international activities that are helping to achieve improvements in the real determinants of health. In the midst of all the hype, I trust we will not swallow attempts to give the credit to vaccines… again.

I am not confident, however. I feel this is simply history repeating itself. Deaths from infectious disease will reach an acceptable “low” in developing countries, at some point in time. And although this will probably be due to a range of improvements in poverty, sanitation, nutrition and education, I feel vaccines will be given the credit. To support the claim, numerous pieces of evidence will be paraded, such as:

Measles Deaths In Africa Plunge By 91%

We need to purge these pieces of “evidence” if we are to have rational discussion. The public have a right to know that these reports are based on fabricated figures.  Otherwise, the relative importance of vaccines in future health policy will be further exaggerated.


[1]    Medical News Today 30Nov 2007; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/90237.php

[2]    UNICEF Joint press release; http://www.unicef.org/media/media_41969.html

[3]    Jaffar et al. Effects of misclassification of causes of death on the power of a trial to assess the efficacy of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in The Gambia; International Journal of Epidemiology 2003;32:430-436 http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/32/3/430

[4]    Save lives by counting the dead; An interview with Prof Prabhat Jha, Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 2010;88:171–172

[5]    Counting the dead is essential for health: Bull WHO Volume 84, Number 3, March 2006, 161-256 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/3/interview0306/en/index.html

[6]    Launched in 2001, the Measles Initiative is an international partnership committed to reducing measles deaths worldwide, and led by the American Red Cross, CDC, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, and WHO. Additional information available at http://www.measlesinitiative.org

[7]    Wolfson et al. Has the 2005 measles mortality reduction goal been achieved? A natural history modelling study; Lancet 2007; 369: 191–200 Available from http://www.measlesinitiative.org/mi-files/Reports/Measles%20Mortality%20Reduction/Global/Wolfson%20Lancet2007_Measles_Mortality_Reduction.pdf

[8]    Kenji Shibuya. Decide monitoring strategies before setting targets; Bulletin of the World Health Organization June 2007, 85 (6) http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/85/6/07-042887/en/index.html

[9]    MDG – Millennium Development Goals, to be discussed shortly in this chapter.

[10]  Dabbagh et al. Global Measles Mortality, 2000–2008; Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report. 2009;58(47):1321-1326 http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/714345

[11]  Garenne & Gakusi. Health transitions in sub-Saharan Africa: overview of mortality trends in children under five years old (1950-2000);  Bull WHO June 2006, 84(6) p472 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/6/470.pdf

[12]  If you perform a ‘google’ search for ‘infant mortality rate’ or ‘under-5 mortality rate’ you will locate a google service that provides most of this data. It is downloadable in spreadsheet form by clicking on the ‘More info’ link.  http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.DYN.MORT/countries/1W-US?display=graph :Vaccine coverage data is available from the WHO website http://www.childinfo.org/files/Immunization_Summary_2008_r6.pdf

[13]  Infant mortality rate is “under-1 year of age” mortality rate.

[15]  Garenne & Gakusi. Health transitions in sub-Saharan Africa: overview of mortality trends in children under five years old (1950-2000);  Bull WHO June 2006, 84(6) p472 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/84/6/470.pdf

The Great Vaccination Non-Debate?

by Meryl Dorey

One sided debateThere is one side of the vaccination issue supported by those who believe parents should be able to access a broad range of information from many different sources. This side is not afraid of scrutiny and in fact, has been asking for better, more transparent research for decades. That side is represented by the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network (AVN) and the other pro-information, pro-choice groups in Australia and overseas.

In opposition to this open and democratic viewpoint on scientific issues, there are organisations and individuals whose raison d’étre seems to be to prevent parents from accessing information freely and to threaten, harass and abuse anyone whose viewpoint on medical issues is not in accord with their own beliefs. That side is represented by the pro-vaccine lobby: the Australian Skeptics, Stop the AVN, certain members of both State and Federal Parliaments and some sections of the medical community.

Healthy Lifestyles Expo

In May of this year, I am going to be speaking at an event on the Sunshine Coast called the Healthy Lifestyles Expo.

The organisers originally contacted me in October last year to see if I would be interested in participating in a live debate on the subject of vaccination. Both sides would be presented and the moderator would ensure that equal time was given to each speaker with ample time allowed for questions from the audience.

Since this is something that both the AVN and I have been wanting to facilitate for some time, I was quick to agree.

The organisers were having a very hard time finding someone from the medical community to debate me, however.

They contacted Queensland Health, their Medical Local, a large number of doctors and even Stop the AVN and the Australian Skeptics. None of them would agree to defend vaccinations publicly.

The reasons given for the refusal to participate in a debate were:

a. There is no debate – there is only one side to this issue.
b. If people have questions, they should see their GP.
c. Fliers would be provided so a debate was unnecessary.

After a few weeks of trying, the debate was called off and instead, the AVN booked a stall at the Expo. As stall-holders, we were entitled to present a seminar which we were happy to do though we still would have preferred a debate.

At this point, the organisers posted an advertisement for my talk on their website at this page.

Almost immediately after this information was posted, the Expo’s website was attacked – twice. The organiser’s were signed up for many pornographic email lists (something that regularly happens to my own email address) and they found themselves targeted by a stream of hate messages on social media from people using the tag #stopavn.

They also received an angry post from Matthew Berryman, an SAVN member who works at the University of Wollongong.

Here is what one of the organisers of this event stated on their blog about Mr Berryman and the whole campaign to stop this debate from taking place:

“…the first comment by Matthew Berryman who has [a] PhD in complex systems modelling and analysis, yet tends to resort to name calling if he is rebutted, a very grown up response.

Mr Berryman sent the organisers of this event a letter accusing them of paying me to speak (in 20 years of public speaking on this issue, I have never taken payment for any of my talks though that is usually offered) and saying that the event was ‘unbalanced’ because they didn’t have a speaker from the anti-choice side!

The organisers offered Mr Berryman the opportunity to either debate me or, if he preferred, to get a stall and speak on the stage himself, just as the AVN was doing. He declined, stating that he was not qualified to speak on this issue.

Where we stand today

At this point in time, there is a possibility that Dr Rachael Dunlop from Stop the AVN and the NSW Skeptics may be debating me (please note – I have just heard from the organisers this morning. Dr Dunlop has said she will not debate me). For those who don’t know her, here is one of the Twitter posts she wrote about myself and others who have made an informed choice not to vaccinate:

Rachie Twitter

The organisers have stated that, regretfully, if someone from the other side does not come forward by the 9th of May, the debate will be cancelled and we will go back to just me speaking on the issue with no opposing viewpoint which would be a shame.

We need a conversation and a debate

The AVN wants parents everywhere to be able to hear both sides of this issue. We want them to be able to ask questions, discuss this subject openly without fear or favour and, in the end, to make the choices they think are best for their family. Without the participation of the pro-vaccine lobbyists – those same people who have been trying for years to make vaccination compulsory – it becomes almost impossible to provide parents with that balance.

We ask anyone who is reading this – whether they be a medical doctor, specialist, health official or from another area of the field of science – who would like to debate the subject in a respectful manner, to contact the Expo organisers via their website contact page.

We also ask that those who believe in free choice on health issues write a quick note to Wayne and Annie, the Expo organisers, to thank them for their strength and commitment to freedom of speech and scientific debate.

I’d love to see you at the Expo!

If you are going to be on the Sunshine Coast on the 24th to the 25th of May, 2014, I would love to see you at the Expo. Please do drop by the AVN’s stand and say hi.

ExhibitorBadge250

One last note:

QLD Health has been given a free table next to the AVN stand on which to display flyers and other information about vaccination. When asked if they would also be sending someone who would be able to answer questions or discuss this issue with the parents in attendance, they said they would not and that anyone who had questions should be contacting their GP.

It is this sort of unresponsive behaviour; this running away from those whom they are supposed to be serving, that has many QLD parents questioning the commitment of their health authorities to the protection of the children of that State.

The AVN will always be there to support our members and to answer their questions. We will always be there to help members who are being discriminated against or harassed in some way because of their vaccination decision. We believe strongly in everyone’s right to make informed choices and wish that our elected representatives would take their responsibility seriously in regards to this issue as well. Citizens and residents of a democratic nation should not be living in fear that their government will take away their inalienable rights to read, discuss and decide about health issues as they see best.

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the AVN National Committee. The AVN is a forum, support and information organisation and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

Government puts boot into the AVN, Democracy and the Truth

face

As many of you would have seen, the NSW Department of Fair Trading has announced that they want the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) to change its name because of concern from within the community. Yet in their response to the media, the only one who complained was the Australian Medical Association – an industry lobby group who obviously feels threatened by the idea that parents might choose not to vaccinate – costing them money. Is this not anti-competitive behaviour on the part of a government department? Should government bodies really be cooperating so closely with those who hold strong vested interests in opposition to the interests of the public – interests which they are supposedly meant to protect?

The Department’s open cooperation with the AMA is analogous to them responding to complaints by mining companies about Greenpeace’s name. After all, Greenpeace is not green, nor do they go around looking for peace, therefore, would the Department tell them to change their name too? How about the Cancer Council? Couldn’t someone be misled into thinking that they are FOR cancer? And the Department of Health? Don’t get me started! The Department of Ill-Health would be more accurate in my opinion.

Community concern?

The saga started back in August of this year when the Department sent the following letter to the AVN’s office (please click on the image below to view it at full size in your browser)

photo

On September 7th, I sent the following response to Mr Jones at the Department of Fair Trading and, having never received a response from him, I assumed that this government body realised how misguided it was to try to stop our group based solely on our name (which had been registered with them since 1996). It seems however, that I overestimated the maturity of government agencies!

Don Jones 07 09 12 re Name Change

Yesterday, the following letter was hand-delivered to my home by two Department of Fair Trading officials. I was not home to accept the letter since I was attending a conference on bullying at the time – pretty ironic, don’t you think? They had come to our home about 2 hours earlier looking for a different address – and it took them almost 2 hours to find the correct location. This is despite the fact that the Department of Fair Trading has had our physical address on file for many years.

In this letter, the Department is ordering the AVN to change our name or they will deregister us come February 2013, effectively closing our organisation down – apparently a long-time goal of government departments, the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN as well as the AMA and the pharmaceutical industry.

Hand-delivered letter re-name change

What’s in a name?

As I said in my letter of September 7th:

The Australian Vaccination Network has been registered with the Department of Fair Trading since 1996 and at no time until the present has our name been called into question. We represent a group of Australians who discuss the issue of vaccination and we are also a network of like-minded individuals who have banded together for mutual support and for the dissemination of information on the issues surrounding vaccination in Australia. Can you please inform us which of these words – Australian – Vaccination – Network, could possibly be considered to not represent our organisation? Which of these words does the Department consider to be misleading and why? Also, can you please inform us of what name the Department would consider to be appropriate for our organisation?

To date, I have not received an answer to any of my questions nor has the Department acknowledged the AVN’s concerns in any way.

In newspaper articles which have appeared in today’s papers, the Minister for Fair Trading (perhaps they might consider changing that name because at least in the present situation, it is extremely misleading!), Mr Roberts, stated that, ”People do not have the freedom of choice when it comes to endangering others … it’s the equivalent of saying a bloke can speed down the road and endanger others,” So I ask – is Mr Roberts saying that vaccination is not a choice anymore and does he have any evidence to back up the claim that freedom of choice when it comes to vaccination is endangering others?  The outbreaks in highly vaccinated communities seems to say otherwise. In addition, it might appear that the Minister is be calling for vaccination to become compulsory in Australia when he states that people “do not have the freedom of choice”. This is an issue that should concern all of us – whether we choose to vaccinate fully, selectively or not at all.

The minister then goes on to state that he, “has warned other states if the AVN tries to register elsewhere.” We regularly hear of scam businesses and dangerous medical doctors who, being shut down in one state, immediately register in other states to continue practicing. Does the Minister for Fair Trading send the same APB out in these cases? Since they do this successfully time and time again, I would think he does not. Why the ‘special treatment’ for the AVN?

Whose pain and suffering are they talking about?

In the same article, it is stated that:

NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts fired a broadside at the AVN, saying the information it provided was a public safety issue of “life and death”.

“This is not a victimless issue, it’s about the ability to stop pain and suffering,” he said.

It’s great that Mr Roberts wants to stop pain and suffering, but where is his concern for those children and adults who have suffered as a result of vaccination? And is his Department really supposed to make their decisions based on medical information or simply based on whether or not our name is considered to be misleading in some way by some unknown and unstated measure? If they based their decision on medical information, what was the source of this data and did they seek a range of opinions?

Rights? What are these rights of which you speak?

Most frightening of all – to anyone who is interested in issues of human rights and freedom of speech, is the fact that the Assistant Commissioner for Fair Trading is actually proposing changes to the legislation based solely on their desire to be given more power to force organisations like the AVN to change their names:

Mr Vellar said the NSW Government was working on changing definitions in the Associations Act to include group names that were in conflict with the group’s charter.

Two very important points to make here:

1- This is the second government body which has proposed changes to government legislation in order to better attack the AVN. The HCCC, who we bested in the Supreme Court earlier this year, is trying to change the legislation which allowed us to win against them. Astoundingly, they want complaints to be valid no matter who files them – and the person complained about would not have to be a practitioner or to have treated or advised the complainant – they simply would need to have made a statement which ‘affected’ the complainant in some way. Such legislation would be so open for abuse it would leave every Australian at risk of being the victim of one of these complaints. The only exception proposed to this legislation would be medical practitioners. So the government body which was set up to protect Australians from dangerous practitioners seems to instead want to protect practitioners from Australians!

2- Mr Vellar says that our name is in conflict with our charter, but I believe that Mr Vellar has never even read our charter (I am assuming he means our publicly posted constitution and code of ethics since we don’t actually have a document called a charter) because if he had, he would see that our name is absolutely representative of what we stand for. Here is a link to our constitution and here is our code of ethics.

Blog overlap

The letter from the Department was handed to my daughter at approximately 11:45 AM and the first article appeared in the Australian media approximately 10 hours ago. But Skeptic blogs started to announce this information approximately one hour before the media did. How do you think they came by this information? I really do wonder. Is there a direct line of communication between the Australian Skeptics, Stop the AVN (SAVN) and government departments? There is a long and open history of collusion between media outlets and various ‘skeptics’ so it is not impossible that they heard about this letter before the AVN had even received it. Is this collusion one of the reasons why these departments have been ‘putting the boot’ into us for the last 4 years at an apparent cost of millions of dollars to the taxpayer? Is the fact that many SAVN members are actually employed by government departments – and use their government email addresses when writing about the AVN and wanting to close us down – cause for concern? I will leave those questions with you to ponder.

Abuse of process

According to Section 11 of the Associations Incorporation Act 2009,  the Director General must specify why a name is unacceptable in order to force an organisation to change it. As far as I have been able to determine, he has not done so in this case. In addition, despite our asking what name or names the Department would consider to be acceptable, we have been left in the dark. We have also never been told what part of the words “Australian Vaccination Network” are considered to be misleading. This puts the AVN and our 2,000 members in a difficult – even impossible position – in regards to complying or negotiating with the Department.

In addition, the Director General has not responded to the AVN’s submission of September 7th regarding the reasons why we believe that our name should not be changed. Not allowing us to communicate with them on this matter is, we believe, an abuse of process and evidence of procedural unfairness.

It’s not about health or fairness

This struggle has never been about something as ridiculous as our name. Instead, it concerns the right for an organisation to provide information to the public that government has neglected or refused to do. Why won’t the government exercise its duty of care and fully inform Australians about both the benefits and  the risks of this medical procedure? And  when will this policy of information suppression and suppression of dissent change? If the AVN is fully dismantled, access to full information and support for families whose children are vaccine injured is even less likely or possible. But does the government truly think that shutting down the AVN will stop parents from questioning? Questioning vaccination has been going on for over 200 years – closing down one small group will not change that. And surely the parents of Australia deserve better than that from their government departments!

Since winning our case in the NSW Supreme Court in April of this year, the AVN has been targeted on more than 10 different occasions by 7 separate government departments. It is hard to see how this can be anything but a blatant attempt by these departments – working closely with industry groups – to suppress dissent on a health issue. Forcing the AVN to close or change its name is not in the public interest – it is only in the interest of pharmaceutical companies, government policy and mainstream medical organisations.

Autism World – The Upcoming Mark Geier Appeal… Part One – What’s at Stake Here?

Autism World – The Upcoming Mark Geier Appeal… Part One – What’s at Stake Here?.

There are several US cases going on right now that are significant to the Autism World, one of which is the Mark Geier versus the Maryland Medical Board, a case which is simply waiting out the required timing to be filed in a real court.  Since the Autism World situation is without doubt, a microcosm of what is happening in US, and world, health care, the case is also of importance to the North American Health Freedom Movement.

Health freedom and suppression of information – an interview with Leon Pittard of FairDinkum Radio

The following is a transcript of a radio interview I did a few weeks ago with Fairdinkum radio. You can listen to the original interview here – http://fairdinkumradio.com/resources/AVN%20050512.mp3.

Leon: Today, our podcast is featuring Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network. Meryl joins us quite regularly to talk about vaccination subjects and issues. And the topic of our podcast and discussion today is the Australian government’s assault on health freedom. Meryl, welcome to Fairdinkum Radio.

Meryl: Thanks, Leon.

Leon: Meryl, your organisation, the Australian Vaccination Network, has been active for many years endeavouring to give information to the public and the people of Australia and indeed the world on the other side of the vaccination question and often the information that is not shared freely by other interested bodies.

Just recently the Australian Vaccination Network went through a long and protracted court case which ended on the 24th of February. Maybe for our listeners who are not familiar with that, you could give us a little overview of what that court case involved and what the ruling was.

Meryl: Sure, I’d be happy to Leon. Back in 2009 – so it has been a very long time – an organisation was setup called Stop the AVN and this group was very closely associated with an organisation called the Australian Skeptics that’s associated with sceptics’ groups around the world. And even though they’re called sceptics they’re not at all sceptical. They are sceptical of anything that is not supported by mainstream medicine and health, and they basically support mainstream medicine and health. Vaccination is probably the one issue that they all absolutely agree on, and many of them are for compulsory vaccination. But all of them believe that there is not a second side to the vaccination issue. There’s only the side that doctors will tell you and everyone should vaccinate. So they opposed our organisation from the very beginning and in 2009 they setup this group and its stated goal is to close us down in any way they can. And that started with a string of complaints to just about every single government organisation. And one of these organisations is the Health Care Complaints Commission of New South Wales. And this commission was setup to basically protect the population from dangerous health practitioners; doctors and other practitioners. So we said from the very beginning that the complaint that was filed was not a valid complaint because it has to affect the care and treatment of an individual client, and we don’t have individual clients. But we went through an entire year long process of investigation where the Health Care Complaints Commission just about ignored everything that we said, where at one point when I told the investigator that I felt that there was great bias in the investigation, she said to me “well, you have to understand that the Health Care Complaints Commission is a government body and, as such, it must support government policy which is pro-vaccination”. So there was quite strong evidence of bias.

And at the end of this 12 month investigation the Health Care Complaints Commission issued a public warning stating that the AVN was dangerous, deceptive and misleading, and that we needed to post a warning on our website to let people know that our information was solely anti-vaccination. And we refused to do that. We do have freedom of speech in Australia, we do have freedom of communication, and we do not consider ourselves to be anti-vaccination. We are pro-information and pro freedom of choice. But we’re certainly not telling people that they shouldn’t vaccinate. So as a result of our refusal to put this warning on the website.. sorry, put the warning that we’re anti-vaccine on the website, the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing which administers charities, revoked our authority to fund raise, meaning that for almost the last 2 years we were unable to accept new memberships or donations from the general public. And it’s my strong belief that it was thought that that revocation would have forced us to close our doors. It came very close to it. I had to get rid of all of our office staff and for the last 2 years, I’ve been doing everything myself. But we decided that we were going to push the envelope on this, we were going to take the government to court because we knew that what they had done was illegal and we wanted to prove it, not just for the AVN but for all the other organisations out there in Australia that go against government policies and have the information to back up what they’re doing. And that’s many natural therapy organisations, many natural therapists because we’re all under attack in Australia and around the world right now.

So we fought our case in the NSW Supreme Court and as you said, on February 24th we won this case and the court awarded costs to us. And they said what the Health Care Complaints Commission had done was illegal. And because the only reason that our charity authority had been revoked was because of the warning of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on the 18th of April the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing reinstated our authority to fundraise. So we are now once again able to take on members and donations from the general public. And that was a huge victory for us because everybody said that you can’t possibly take on the government and win, especially when you’re unfunded. We had a barrister who was working on spec and a solicitor who we did pay and that took an awful lot of our cash, our little bit of cash to do, but it was such an important issue – and our members supported us through this – that we felt it was something that we had to do. And almost immediately after our charity was reinvoked, was reinstated, excuse me, the Shadow Minister for Health in NSW has asked the Minister for Gaming & Racing to revoke it once again.

Leon: This is incredible because this really goes to the heart of.. the extension of your case is that my website, and any information sharing website, is, will be under assault to share information which may be contrary to government policy.

Meryl: Exactly. It’s a very big danger. And even with our victory in the supreme court, the decision said that what the Health Care Complaints Commission did was illegal because the complaint did not involve the care and treatment of an individual, but the decision of the judge said that the ‘care and treatment of an individual’ and the word ‘affect’ can mean that someone can come to our website… let’s say they come to our website and they decide to vaccinate even though our website has information on the dangers and risks of vaccination. If they then file a complaint with the Commission saying that they were ‘affected’ by the information on our website, then that would be a valid complaint. And the Stop the Australian Vaccination Network group has been advertising, trying to find someone to file this complaint and for all I know they may have done so by now. I just haven’t heard from the HCCC. So there is incitement and conspiracy, as far as I’m concerned, to actually try and shut our organisation down by these groups. This is illegal. What they are doing is completely illegal. I don’t know what the end result is going to be, but I think it’s something that all, especially natural health practitioners, need to be aware of because the same group that is doing this to us is trying very hard to do this with individual practitioners in Australia and with the organisations that govern the practitioners in Australia. There is a very strong effort to get rid of any natural therapy practitioner, supplements, homeopathy, chiropractic, all of these things are under threat. And I believe that it’s time for us to band together because if we don’t band together we’re going to be gone.

Leon: Absolutely. I’ve got no doubt that this is a test case for the future and that’s why we need to fight it in every way on the basis of humanity’s freedom to choose to research, to choose to investigate, and to choose to make a decision about what enters their body. This is a freedom issue, fundamental and… vaccination, which is a form of allowing someone to enter your body, must be done only by the individual or the parents consent. That’s where we stand today but this case is obviously trying to push that boundary and cross that line to where it becomes a department’s policy that the body will be impregnated by what and who they choose.

Meryl: That’s right. Isn’t it just a basic human right to say what we will and will not take as a health therapy for ourselves and for our children? And when the government says that they have the right to tell us what to put in our bodies and we don’t have the right to say no, then I say that the government is stepping well and truly outside of their boundaries. And it’s time, when that happens, for us to take a stand and say only this far and no further. I think we’ve reached that point.

Leon: Absolutely. Since that case and that ruling on the 24th of February there is now four separate government investigations which have basically started since then. The Department of Fair Trading, the Health Care Complaints Commission, the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Now, you have information that leads you to believe that all four of these have now begun the wheels of process in an endeavour to work out a different way to come at you so that this ruling is not applicable for you being a charity.

Meryl: Yes, well I don’t know for sure that the departments themselves are trying to work this out but I know that the Stop the AVN group and especially several members of that group who are very active, one in particular, Mr Ken McLeod, who is the original complainant with the HCCC. He has since filed another complaint with the Health Care Complaints Commission, a complaint that is 90 pages [long], and the HCCC assessed that complaint even though once again it did not involve the care and treatment of an individual. Mr McLeod actually referred back to conversations on our email discussion list in 1998. I mean that is how desperate they are. And the Health Care Complaints Commission basically said that they had no complaint, that he had no valid complaint. He said that I had given incorrect information when I told someone that there is no requirement by the Australian government for people travelling overseas to get a yellow fever vaccine. He said that was a lie. The HCCC checked it out and said “well actually, as a matter of fact, that’s true”. So, they’re trying in any way, sort of like shooting arrows in the air and hoping that one of them will fall down and hit something, because they are filing these massive complaints with so many government departments and it’s only a matter of time before one of the departments will actually do something.

So they filed complaints with the Health Care Complaints Commission, the department of Fair Trading, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration and that’s a really interesting one because I got a call from the TGA. Now the Therapeutic Goods Administration, if I can give just a little bit of background for the listeners, it’s like the American Food & Drug Administration. They are the government department that licenses and approves drugs and vaccines and therapeutic products. So all therapeutic products that are licensed in Australia have to go through the TGA. And the TGA, even though it is a government department, receives no funding from the Australian government. Since 1998 they’ve worked under something called cost recovery and what that means, and I think it’s a fairly evil policy, it means that the government gives them no money to operate. All of their operating expenses come from the licensing fees for drugs and vaccines. So when a pharmaceutical company wants to license a new drug, the pharmaceutical company does all the testing, then they give the study to the TGA, and based on that information without any further checking, the TGA licenses the drug or the vaccine. If they stop licensing the drugs or the vaccines they won’t have money to operate. So they are totally dependent on the multinational corporations that they are meant to oversee. They are meant to protect the health and wellbeing of the Australian population but in the way that they’re setup it’s impossible for them to do that. And this has come out lately, there are many enquiries into the TGA that have been going on.

But what the complaint that was made about the AVN to the TGA says, and I’ve only just received this information, you’re the first person I’m speaking with about it, is that we sell a DVD on our website. Now we have a lot of books and DVD’s about general health issues, vaccination, natural health, instinctive parenting, environmental issues, we feel it’s our responsibility to allow people to access information that they might not find elsewhere. And one of the DVD’s that we sell is by Elaine Hollingsworth called One Answer to Cancer. Now, Elaine runs a health retreat up on the Gold Coast called Hippocrates Health and she was almost killed by a mainstream cancer treatment, I think it’s called Aldara, I could have the name wrong. It’s been banned in many countries. She had skin cancer, was given this treatment and it almost killed her. As a result of that experience she found a treatment that’s been used for at least 2000 years called black salve. And it’s a combination of herbs and minerals that is applied topically to cancer and it’s called nature’s scalpel. Now I’ve used it myself on a cancer that I had on my shoulder. I’ve got to tell you, it is like a scalpel, it cut it out in a perfect circle. And it got rid of it completely. So, the Australian government several years ago banned the use of black salve on humans and you could only buy it for animals. As of a couple of weeks ago you’re not even allowed to sell it for animal use.

Leon: Unbelievable.

Meryl: The only reason.. they haven’t actually given any reason except that it hasn’t been safety-tested by the organisation that licenses drugs and vaccines which also haven’t been independently safety-tested, the TGA. But because they’ve banned this now and because, I’m assuming, someone from Stop the AVN and I don’t have information on this yet, has filed a complaint with the TGA. They’ve come to me and said that we have to remove our sale of this DVD because actually providing information via a DVD, according to the TGA, is exactly the same as advertising and selling the product. And we’ve been in touch with several natural health practitioners who’ve been told the same thing. They may have an article on the use of ‘x’ herb for stomach ulcers, let’s say, and the TGA says even though they are not selling that herb the fact that they are giving out information on it’s use, may influence someone to actually go out and find a retailer who sells this herb and to buy it and therefore they’re advertising it.

Leon: Yeah. See, this is incredible because what this is opening up, this is the thin edge of the wedge of total surveillance of all information sharing to… by government bureaucracies to oversee every piece of information that the public receives. And therefore even any information sharing website, and let’s take the subject of fluoride, that may be opposite to public policy, will be subject to litigation or court action even though you may not be selling fluoride – it’s the government selling fluoride – but you’re the person that is sharing the other side of the story. Therefore you will be subject to litigation because it is against what the public system has already incorporated.

Meryl: That’s exactly right. The government has a policy, they’ve put some policy in place and if you are giving out information that opposes that government policy then you can be prosecuted, or persecuted is more likely, as a result of it. We saw the Howard administration start to do this with their anti-sedition laws and I proudly wore a t-shirt saying I’m a seditionist because I believe that in a democracy, public debate is supported. Not only supported, but protected. And if Australia wants to be considered a democracy and not a banana republic, then it has to support the right to free and public debate on all issues. If an issue does not have enough information to back it up, well you have to believe that the people are smart enough to figure work that out for themselves. The fact that the government is trying to control and suppress this sort of communication is frightening and it is not something that a democratic government should, or would, do.

Leon: The thing is we can see that schoolchildren are being taught that we are entering a phase of dangerous global warming and that is the government’s position. That is put in the curriculum. Now there’s many in society that question the validity of that indoctrination and therefore anyone who would oppose that, automatically, their information is not able to be shared. To just follow on from that example, for instance, all of the price increases via the carbon tax, there has been legislation passed to say that the business cannot put on the product that this product is $10 dearer because of the carbon tax. It is illegal to put there what the increase is. Now you can see there that what this legislation, and this is related to what we’re talking about because what it is, is a dampening of the information to the public about the government policy. Now, it’s an attack on openness, it’s an attack on freedom, and it’s an attack on information sharing about the truth. If a person believes something is the truth he should be able to have the freedom to share that.

I wanted to ask you, Meryl, about… to register as a charity. Now, this was the recent ruling and I notice that what the opposition health person, Dr Andrew McDonald, is now asking is why has the Minister reinstated authority for charitable fundraising for the AVN. Can you describe to us what the parameters and the conditions are for being a charity?

Meryl: Yes. Now, from the very beginning because of our constitution, the AVN has been considered a charity. A charity basically means, and there is a whole lot that you can read on the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing website about this, and every state has their own body that administers charities. If the government determines that the activities of the organisation constitute the pursuit of a charitable purpose then they are a charity. Now the really crazy thing is that we had actually tried to get rid of our charitable authority well before this happened because it is a huge onus, a huge burden, for a charitable organisation. Especially a small unfunded one like ours to be considered a charity. You could go out tomorrow, Leon, and you could put a “donate here” link on your website – I don’t know, you may even have one now – and there would be absolutely no requirement for you to report to anybody or do anything because you’re not pursuing a charitable purpose. But if you’re pursuing a charitable purpose and you are registered as a charity, you have to account for everything that you do. You have to account for the size of the collection box that you use when you go out and do a seminar and put up a collection box on the table.

Leon: Incredible.

Meryl: You have to be audited every year at a cost of… well, it’s cost us upwards of four to five thousand dollars a year just to get that audit done. Where if we were not a charity, all we would need is a plain accountant to do our end-of-year figures, which might cost four or five hundred dollars. So we tried to get rid of this but we were told that we pursue a charitable… we have a charitable pursuit, our organisation, so we are a charity. And even when our authority was revoked the OLGR said that we still needed to abide by those regulations because we pursue a charitable purpose. The only reason that we were not able to accept new memberships and donations during that period when our status was revoked was because the OLGR said that we pursue a charitable purpose. So Dr McDonald saying that we are not a real charity, it means to me that he really doesn’t know 100% what he’s talking about. He also said that we get special tax breaks because we’re a charity and that’s not true at all. I think he might be talking about becoming a tax-deductible gift recipient and that’s one of those organisations where if you donate more than $2- you can deduct it off your tax. And the AVN applied for that several times. The last time the ATO told us that we definitely do qualify as a deductible gift recipient but they wouldn’t give it to us because they considered that we were anti-vaccine and the government is pro-vaccine and therefore they wouldn’t give us the deductible gift recipient. Which they weren’t supposed to do.Tthey were supposed to make that decision based on whether we qualified or not. And the other thing is that some charities can be income tax exempt but you have to apply for that, it’s not automatic. So Dr McDonald really doesn’t know what he’s talking about in this situation. And in his questions on notice in NSW Parliament that were given yesterday, he said that… he asked the government whether there were any reasons for declining our authority, such as alleged fraud. Now, he’s using parliamentary privilege to say something that I believe he might know is not true because there was no alleged fraud. The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing specifically stated that they found no evidence of fraud when they did an audit of our organisation. What they found were breaches to the Act and mistakes, errors. And they said that these were of a technical nature and that they were common in organisations of our sort. And they asked us to fix everything and we immediately fixed everything. So they said that there was no reason to revoke our authority based on the errors that they found.

Leon: The very fact that you raise this issue about ‘is there any alleged fraud’, I mean, he’s planting seeds in peoples’ minds about your organisation. And he goes onto say, is there any other questionable issues about this organisation that we could revoke their authority on. I mean, I could raise a thousand issues against him and his former government about selling his people out, selling our electricity and selling us in every way. The corruption that was in that government is just incredible. And here they are burdening the individual who’s just trying to share information with so much… I only saw the numbers the other day, in the last 12 months we’ve had 16,000 pieces of legislation passed in Australia, in the last short time.

Meryl: Wow.

Leon: Just incredible.

Meryl: How did they know that?

Leon: And what they’re doing to us, as individuals, they’re loading us up with requirements, checks and balances, how big’s your offering box, all of these different things. And yet, those in power basically march on and take away everything that’s dear to us without question.

Meryl: Yeah, a government’s responsibility is to mandate, not to mandate, but to govern the safety and wellbeing of the population in as far as infrastructure goes. They are not there to tell us what we can eat, what treatments we can use, how we educate our children. All of these things they are stepping outside of their real responsibility on. And I believe that it’s time for us to put the government back in its place cause it’s stepped right outside of that place.

Leon: Absolutely. Well that’s, you’re exactly right. That’s what they are doing, they’re crossing the line to say what we should teach our children, what we must teach our children, what we must give our children as far as healthcare goes… the direction of our whole lives is being impregnated by government policy and even about the cost in our lives, everything is being encroached upon. Now Meryl, regarding this… is there anything else you wanted to add regarding this latest assault by Dr Andrew McDonald?

Meryl: Not really. The only thing I would ask is if your listeners are interested, our blog “No Compulsory Vaccination” which is on wordpress, will have regular updates as we find out more information and as we put in our responses to these issues. So if people are interested in finding out more and staying up to date with what’s happening, I urge them to stay in touch. You can subscribe to our updates on our blog and that would probably be a really good thing to do.

Leon: That’s good. Now another question I wanted to ask you about the gaming authority, sorry, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, you were saying how the only way that they actually get funded is by the registration process of vaccines and therapeutic drugs, etc. Do they receive grants from any other foundations, to your knowledge?

Meryl: Not to my knowledge, that’s not anything that I’ve ever looked into. I do know that they receive no funding to test either the safety or the effectiveness of the drugs and vaccines that they license. And that they’re licensed purely on the information that’s provided to them by the drug manufacturer.

Leon: Ok. And the reason I ask is I’ve been doing a little bit of research into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and have discovered that their foundation has been giving millions of dollars to different media outlets and these media outlets actively promote their vaccination programs and what they are doing around the world with vaccination, etc, especially in places like India and Pakistan. And that these millions of dollars that go to these different media organisations, these media organisations then produce documentaries about the miracle working power of vaccinations in all of these countries. And if you follow the money you see a link between those promoting the vaccines and the media companies that are actually promoting them, which leads me to an article that I was reading last week about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation program in India which was promoted as the last mile to eradicating polio in India. And it featured a promotional video which was displaying numbers of the cases of polio in India decades ago, with the number of cases dropping to 42 by 2010, but it appears that the wild polio virus stats have been traded for polio from vaccines and non-polio acute flaccid paralysis. Now, in India over 47,000 cases of this non-polio acute flaccid paralysis was reported in 2011. Now these symptoms are practically the same as what is attributed to the eradicated wild virus polio. Now, apparently vaccine polio viruses also cause polio paralysis. Have you got any thoughts on that, Meryl?

Meryl: Yes, it’s interesting. India declared itself, or was declared by the World Health Organisation to be free of polio for the first time, I think it was about two months ago, sometime in February. And there was wild celebration, our polio vaccine campaign has worked! But this article that you’re talking about was published by two Indian researchers. And what they found, they did an absolutely, fantastic job of researching this. As you said, there were 47,500 cases of acute flaccid paralysis, and non-polio paralysis. And it’s interesting because before the polio vaccine came in, polio was always diagnosed using clinical symptoms. So we didn’t know what virus was causing paralysis before the polio vaccine came in. And in India there was very little testing done up until fairly recently, it’s only within the last 8 years that there’s been widespread testing. So they’ve had a lot of paralysis and they’ve been calling it polio, but they don’t really know what virus is causing it. Now, they’ve had to politically declare that all of these millions and millions of dollars, well actually billions of dollars, that have been spent trying to rid India of polio have been successful. So they’re doing all these tests and they’re finding that there are 47,500 cases of paralysis but that a lot of it’s not being caused by the wild polio virus. A lot of it’s being caused by the vaccine virus and what these researchers did is that they found that the death rate from the non-polio, non-wild polio virus is twice, it’s double, what the death rate is from polio. So if you get polio naturally you are half as likely to die from it as you will be if you get it from the vaccine or from one of these other viruses which 10 years ago in India would have been called polio anyway. So it’s playing with statistics.

And the other thing they’ve done is they found that India is using polio vaccine as if it was water. In Australia, a child will get four polio vaccines by the time they start school age, and I believe there’s another one at school age. In India, they are getting up to 50 doses of the oral polio vaccine. Every time this vaccine campaign, the pulse-polio campaign comes through a village, it doesn’t matter, they don’t check to see if the person’s already got the vaccine. If one dose is good, fifty’s better. And because you’re continually exposing people to this live virus, and these people live in less than hygienic conditions, and polio virus is a stomach virus, it’s an enteric virus so it’s carried through stool, you’re spreading the disease. We stopped using the live polio vaccine over 10 years ago in Australia, and in the U.S. they stopped using it a decade before that, but it’s cheaper to produce. So we send it to third world countries which is the last place where it should be used because of hygiene problems. So not only has the vaccine not eradicated polio in India, it has made the situation worse. It has increased the number of cases of paralysis, and who cares if paralysis is caused by polio virus or by another virus. The fact is that your child is paralysed and it doesn’t make any difference to you whether it was caused by polio virus or something else. The fact is your child is paralysed. And if we are causing more paralysis by vaccinating than we were by not vaccinating, then why aren’t we looking at what we’re doing? We are causing huge tragedies, huge numbers of tragedies and grief in a country that’s already dealing with so many issues. And we’re declaring a victory when there was no victory; or what there was, was more disease.

Leon: It was good work of those Indian researchers to find that and as we discussed in one of our other conversations, how a lot of the out-of-date swine flu vaccines were dumped on countries like India, Brazil, Pakistan, even though they were a year or two out-of-date. They had millions of these vaccines left over, and they dumped them on these countries as an experiment or we had to get rid of them somehow. What’s going on with these poor people? As you said, we don’t use this polio vaccine anymore and yet it’s ok for them.

Meryl: Yep, what’s done in developing countries by medical organisations is beyond immoral. It’s horrible, it’s absolutely horrible. These people are used as guinea-pigs for tests. There have been vaccines that have been given in these countries that have abortive agents in them, in other words, vaccines that will prevent a woman from getting pregnant, make them lose their baby if they are already pregnant. This is not conjecture, this is confirmed by the World Health Organisation. And they’re used as guinea-pigs in drug and vaccine testing because ethics committees in developed countries will not allow these sorts of tests that are done in these countries. Doctors are paid an awful lot of money in these countries to refer parent, who don’t know what their children are getting, to these studies.

Leon: Look, they’re using these countries as experiments, they want sterilisation, they want population control, and vaccines are a perfect way to deliver that outcome. Now, Meryl, I want to talk to you a little bit about autism rates and I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of… the autism rates have spiked, and I notice there’s a lot of articles circulating regarding that, but I would like to just speak about Donald Trump for a minute, and a statement he made which obviously makes a lot of ground because he’s an important type person, someone’s that in the spotlight. He acknowledged that speaking out against vaccines and a vaccine schedule is very controversial but he went on to state, he said “I don’t care less. I’ve seen people where they have a perfectly healthy child. They go for vaccinations and a month later the child is no longer healthy.” Trump’s statement is a victory for parents who have long believed vaccines contribute to neurological damage their children suffered post-vaccination. It goes on to say that the Centers for Disease Control just released a study based on 2008 data revealing autism rates have risen to an all-time high. Health records for 8 year old children in 14 states were analysed showing autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys in the U.S. Have you seen these rates recently?

Meryl: I have. And it’s amazing. First of all, if there was anything that twenty years ago caused 1 person in 10,000 to get a disease and that disease has now risen to 1 in 88, there would be worldwide panic. There would be billions of dollars. Look what happened with AIDS. I mean billions, if not trillions, of dollars were thrown at that issue trying to solve it. And yet, with autism there’s this constant thing from the government and the medical community “calm down, it’s not really happening, it’s all smoke and mirrors”. But it’s not. These are real diagnoses of autism, it’s not better statistic keeping because the countries where this statistic keeping is done have always kept good statistics on autism. And that 1 in 88 figure, we’ve gone from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 88 as of the year 2000, because they did this in 2008 with 8 year old children. The U.S government says that the rate of autism is increasing by 12% a year and if we extrapolate that, that means that a child born today has a 1 in 20 chance of being autistic. It’s not 1 in 88, it’s 1 in 20, and possibly 1 in 10 for boys. So, when are we going to panic? When are we going to start saying what is going to happen to the future of these children? How is our society ever going to provide for kids who can’t speak, who can’t learn, who are constantly ill? It’s the most amazing situation, the emperor has no clothes and yet everyone is saying what a beautiful outfit he’s wearing.

Leon: Exactly. And I notice between 1960 and 1980, we talked about these rates before, children were subject to around 25 doses. Today, children are subject to about 70 doses in the same time period. To put this in perspective, a child born today, if you follow the schedules, would receive more vaccine doses by the time he’s six months old than his mother did by the time she went to college. And we’re looking at 160 or so vaccine doses from a child to an adult. It’s just incredible. It just keeps growing and growing.

Meryl: But don’t worry, because Paul Offit, who’s at CHOP, the Children’s Hospital, Pennsylvania, and who has sold his patent for a vaccine for an estimated 20 million dollars, says that children can get up to 10,000 to 100,000 vaccines at one time without suffering any ill-effect. So the number of doses that our kids are getting, according to Paul Offit, should make no difference to their health. Yet, we have parents all over the world, millions of parents, who are saying that they had a perfectly healthy child one day, they vaccinated them, and then the next day their child regressed into autism or had another health condition that either permanently disabled them or killed them. But Paul Offit says this is not happening despite the parents out there whose own experience have shown them that it is.

Leon: You know what’s incredible about the time which we’re living in, you alluded to it there about the emperor having no clothes. Cancer rates are increasing. Autism rates are increasing. Neurological disorders increasing. All of the health of humanity. Obesity. It doesn’t matter what avenue you look at, people are getting sicker and yet the one thing that the system will never do – they will never ask why. They will always provide a new vaccine to fix this problem or a new chemical drug to fix this problem, but they never ask, “Why are people getting sicker?” Why are these rates increasing. And they will refuse to look at the link between the chemicalisation of foods, the genetic modification of foods, and the vaccines that are going into people’s lives, that is actually a cause of all of these… I mean, mercury, there’s more and more studies showing the damage that adjuvants like mercury do, and the link to mercury and autism. And yet, this is never addressed by the system and anyone that wants to speak out about it, they’re side-lined and they’re isolated. Like in your case where the assault is against your organisation to even receive a donation.

Meryl: That’s right. It’s very true. But I have to say I think that all of these attacks, which are accelerating and getting far worse, not just in Australia but around the world, are the last gasp of an industry that is on… it’s dying. We’re at a tipping point right now. The latest research shows that I think by the year 2016, the average cost per year for American citizens for healthcare will exceed the average income of the American citizen. We cannot continue the way that we’re going and it’s obvious that there are more and more people becoming better informed about these issues and making decisions not to use chemical drugs, not to use vaccines. For once, I believe that it’s true, when the governments say that the rate of vaccination compliance is declining. They’ve been saying it for years, crying wolf, but now I think it’s actually true because people are better informed, because the internet is there, and because people are finally waking up and saying enough is enough. Our children are sicker. In Australia, over 40% of Australia’s children are currently being treated for a chronic disease; in the U.S. it’s over half. We’re sicker than we’ve ever been before, and yet we spend more money on medical care and medical treatments than we’ve ever spent before. This generation of children is going to be the first generation in history that’s going to live for a shorter time than their parents have. Where is the great success? Where are the blockbusters that we’re constantly hearing about every day? They are not working and people are finally knowing that they’re not working, and they’re looking at the safer, effective natural therapies and they’re saying “When I take them, I feel better. When I have a condition and treat it with natural therapies, I get better. So why I am listening to my doctor and using these drugs when all I do on the drugs is get sick?” People are saying this. You can only fool people for so long.

Leon: I think you’re right. People are waking up to the system and waking up because of the research that they’re doing themselves, and that’s the great thing that we have with the internet today that we are able to research and look at two sides of the story or as many sides of a story as possible. Ladies and Gentlemen, a return to good health is what we need, eating good quality foods and removing ourselves as much as we can from the chemical assaults that we are under today. And I encourage you all to investigate the other side of the story with vaccinations. Go to the Australian Vaccination Network website. I encourage you all not to vaccinate until you do the research and if you choose to vaccinate after you do the research that’s your privilege, but we encourage you to do the research, read and investigate, and look at the statistics. Meryl, it’s been great speaking with you again. Is there anything you’d like to add in closing?

Meryl: No, Leon, I’ve think you’ve said it all, that was perfect.

The Trouble with the ANTI “Anti-Vaccine” Movement: How They Hijack the Issue; Distort the Facts; and Totally Miss the Point – AGE OF AUTISM

This is one of the best-written, most logical articles I’ve read to date on how those who oppose free vaccination choice abuse and harass those who have made a legal decision not to vaccinate. I believe this should be required reading for every doctor, nurse, natural health practitioner, government official and vaccine policy-maker. Please share widely.

1. They believe there is an anti-vaccine movement.

This may surprise a lot of people, but there actually isn’t an “anti-vaccine movement”. Although there are definitely people who believe no vaccine is a good vaccine, the controversy has never been solely about whether or not vaccines are good or bad; it’s been about whether or not they are being used responsibly and have been properly investigated for their role in chronic health conditions.

The more appropriate term to describe people raising this important question would be consumer safety advocates, seeking informed consent, more research, product liability, and policy reform.

Only a few possibilities exist to explain why those who insist on using the “anti-vaccine” label anyway continue to do so: they erroneously assume anyone who questions a product’s safety is automatically against it; they believe vaccines already are being used as responsibly as they possibly can be and have been properly investigated; or they choose to use a red herring label like “anti-vaccine” to manipulate people.

2. Anyone who disagrees with them is an idiot.

If the first line of attack doesn’t work it will almost always be followed by an insult. Not only are people who disagree portrayed as dangerous lunatics who want to see the world explode in infectious disease, supposedly they are also “flat-earthers” who can’t accept the world is round. Certain journalists have gone so far as to suggest it’s no wonder their children have problems.

Such commentary is breathtaking in its insensitivity, entirely unnecessary, and most troublesome once again, not true. Even the CDC has recognized for years, most recently in a study on Hepatitis B uptake, that the most common demographic of a person who questions vaccine safety or refuses them is a highly educated mother with a master’s degree.

When faced with this unpleasant fact, anti “anti-vaxxers” are left with little place to go. Some have started calling these parents “superstitious”, “defenders of pseudo-science”, or “conspiracy theorist” instead.

The Trouble with the ANTI “Anti-Vaccine” Movement: How They Hijack the Issue; Distort the Facts; and Totally Miss the Point – AGE OF AUTISM.

Is Rachael Dunlop a purveyor of misinformation?

Rachael Dunlop has a long history of twisting, skewing and in other ways, torturing the truth to suit her agenda which is pro-vaccination at all costs and despite any information. Judy Wilyman who is a PhD researcher in WA, has brought this misinformation to the attention of those organising a talk Ms Dunlop will be presenting in Canberra this month on inaccuracies found on social websites. We will have to wait and see if the truth can prevail before an audience of committed pseudo-skeptics. 

By the way, though I am reprinting Ms Wilyman’s letter with her permission, the title of this blog post and this text is mine alone.

Dear Mr. Le Count,

Thankyou for your reply. It seems that Ms. Dunlop continues to present misinformation on her website rachael@skepticzone.tv I can see why you have engaged her to speak on the inaccuracies that can be found on social websites. I will address these for you and hope that the audience on the 15.2.12 will be informed of the inaccuracies in her information as well as her affiliations when she presents the talk on the 15th.

  1. On her website she states ‘that I have misused the Murdoch logo’. This is untrue. As the author of this poster I am entitled to present the poster (see attached). However, if someone wishes to publish this poster they require my permission and Murdoch University’s permission. Ms. Dunlop did not get this permission and she also displayed the poster untruthfully by linking it to the AVN.
  2. Vaccination is a medical procedure and therefore if someone is promoting this procedure they need to make their qualifications and interests clear to their audience. Ms. Dunlop is not a medical doctor. She has a PhD in cell biology and she does research into heart disease. This should be made clear on her websites and at public forums when she makes comments on the topic of vaccination.
  3. Ms. Dunlop is also the vice-president of the NSW Skeptics Group. This is a group of largely non-scientists who investigate paranormal and pseudoscientific claims (not evidence-based immunization policies). The organization was founded by the American Skeptics who are linked to the major corporate lobby groups such as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
  4. Ms. Dunlop is also on the editorial board for ‘Focus on the Alternative and Complimentary Therapies’ which is also affiliated with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
  5. Ms. Dunlop’s websites and other Skeptic websites such as http://www.davethehappysinger.com/blog/2011/10/13/mediawatch-anti-vaccination-abc-science-stopavn/are making derogatory comments about academics, journalists and media outlets, such as the ABC, who are presenting the valid science questioning vaccination. Please note that Ms. Dunlop and other Skeptics are not addressing the arguments that are being presented but knocking down the people and organizations that are presenting the science. This shows a lack of integrity and credibility in the information she is providing.

Please will you ensure that the audience on the 15th is made aware of these facts and affiliations. I will provide for you an accurate copy of the conference poster supported by Murdoch University that Ms. Dunlop is preventing the public from seeing. And invite you to provide the arguments against this science. Alternatively I hope that you will ensure that the information in the poster is provided to the attendees of Ms.Dunlop’s talk. Talks by the public need to be presented in the appropriate context to ensure consumers are aware of the source and credibility.

Again I will forward this to the community and the Health Department so they are aware of how the public and media is being influenced on the topic of vaccination.

Kind regards,

Judy Wilyman

PhD researcher

5754-Health PosterA4_no logo

Do you want to choose your healthcare or have it chosen for you?

There is an organisation in Australia which hates every natural therapy. They hate the healthcare practitioners and they hate the healthcare consumers who ‘turn their backs’ on Western medicine in favour of a range of other modalities which put no money in their pockets and take away their prestige. Worst of all, they hate anyone who chooses not to use  vaccines! That is the ultimate heresy, as far as they are concerned.

But it’s OK – because they have a plan and they have the money and media backing, they think, to bring this plan to fruition.

This group, the Australian Skeptics, has been instrumental in setting up the organisation, Stop the AVN.

Now, they are working on a new initiative – and this one is more ambitious then just stopping a small, parent-run community support group. Now, their goal is to stop anyone in Australia (today Australia – tomorrow the world as far as this bunch of ratbags is concerned) from learning about or using natural therapies. Their mad campaign is getting plenty of publicity too!

They have just set up a new front group called Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) which is behind the new effort to outlaw the teaching of any natural medicine course in University. This organisation ultimately wants to shut down homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, herbalism, ayurvedic therapies and on and on. In their unspeakable arrogance, they claim that there is no evidence for therapies which have been used safely and effectively, in many cases, for thousands of years. Instead, they say, we should all be forced to exclusively rely on mainstream medicine with its dreadful record of poor safety and effectiveness!

If you, like me, use natural therapists – either as your first port of call for treating and maintaining your family’s health, or as an adjunct to more mainstream therapies, I hope you will throw your support behind the natural therapy organisations such as the ATMS, ACNEM, CAA, AHA, COCA and others who must be working hard behind the scenes to protect not only their member practitioners, but the health consumers of Australia. It is going to take a concerted effort on all our parts to prevent these organisations from destroying such a necessary sector of Australia’s healthcare industry.

As a healthcare consumer, I will be fighting for my rights to choose my own healthcare. I hope you will join me in this fight and also, that you will contact the industry bodies for the modality or modalities you frequent to ask them to join you in preserving the rights of their practitioners as well as your ability to choose the treatments that work for you. We should also be contacting the ACCC to complain against the anti-competitive behaviour of those who are trying to say that drug-based medicine is the only answer for all health problems and should have a monopoly in Australia.

Please read the information below from the Alliance for Health Freedom Australia.

Dear AHFA Subscriber,

There has been a recent push in Australia to peel back the initiatives made with regards to Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). This push is coming from a group called the Australian Skeptics. Some of these Skeptics have links to pharmaceutical and drug company interests. One of the more prominent members of the Skeptics is Dick Smith. Professor John Dwyer is affiliated with them also. The Sceptics have a modus operandi – they manage to have a media release in a major paper like the Sydney Morning Herald pushing their point of view, followed by or in parallel with a letter writing campaign by individual Skeptics aimed at politicians or government organisations such as the Australia Consumer Complaint Tribunal (ACCC), Health Care Complaints Commission or the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The Skeptics are very adapt at manipulating opinion in a way that makes organisations or governments think the general public are more involved than what they in fact are.

The most recent initiative by the Australian Skeptics is to try to close down all university courses in Australia with regards to CAM. This includes Chinese medicine and Naturopathy. They are also trying to close down the Chiropractic courses. This push by the Skeptics is also aimed at undermining the new hospital being built in Chatswood, of which the University of Western Sydney will be a research partner. This hospital will incorporate western orthodox medicine along with Chinese medicine as it is utalised in China. This is a wonderful service for the public but unfortunately the Skeptics and their pharmaceutical industry ties do not want to see this happen.

Please read the article below and become familiar with this issue.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/tertiary-education/scientists-urge-unis-to-axe-alternative-medicine-courses-20120125-1qhtm.html

Best regards

The AHFA Team

http://www.health-freedom.com.au

This morning, Fran Kelly on ABC Radio National, interviewed Prof Dwyer from the Skeptics and Friends of Science in Medicine as well as Dr Kerryn Phelps, former head of the Australian Medical Association, now working in an integrative medical practice. The subject was – should universities in Australia be allowed to continue providing courses in natural therapies – courses in subjects which Prof Dwyer calls quackery but which Dr Phelps considers to be evidence based and helpful in cases where drug-based treatment may not be appropriate.

Please have a listen to this interview (Dwyer-Phelps below) and tell me what you think. It seemed to me that Prof Dwyer was illogical, rabid and overly emotional while Dr Phelps was calm and well-informed. Even Fran Kelly who, from past experience, is no friend to natural medicine, was getting a bit fed up with Prof Dwyer’s constant vitriol. Dwyer also appeared to be quite ill-informed on the subject of natural medicine. He tried to insinuate that homeopathy is taught as a degree course in universities when it isn’t. He then complained that CAMs get government funding. A bit rich when Western medicine is virtually 100% government subsidised – paid for by you and me – while the 50% of Australians who choose to use CAMs have to pay for it out of their own pockets!

Dwyer-Phelps

Lastly, here is a letter I received today from a long-time member and recently retired natural healthcare practitioner. This person had received the letter from the AHFA (quoted above) and their experience with these efforts goes way back. As they said, it was a close call last time and the opposition were not nearly as well-organised or funded then as they are now.

Hi Meryl

I’m sure you are aware of this , but just in case it went under your radar I thought I’d forward it to you. I see it’s the same mob who have been harrassing you so badly . I see Ian Fraser is amongst the skeptics. How does he keep his creditability with the amount of damage his vaccine has perpetrated on our young population? There are enough complaints on the net to label him quack.

I do hope AVN has a positive outcome [in our court case on the 22nd of February]. Whatever is happening to our ‘freedom’, those who ‘think ‘ they know better are trying to make sure we are not allowed to be in charge of our own bodies. I’m afraid I’m cynical. I ‘m sure it isn’t to ensure public safety but more about their investments both monetary and educational, I think Natural Medicine is coming into it’s own and becoming a serious threat to the Medical Sickness Industry’s profits.

Many years ago in the late eighties – early nineties, the government tried to get it through parliament to put all vitamins and herbs on doctor’s prescription. I was a practicing medical herbalist (just retired) at the time. We fought tooth and nail. We were lucky there was a federal election looming. It was close and we managed to get the Australian Democrats on side  with promises to support them at the polls. Well the outcome was: the proposals were dropped. I don’t know what the political situation is this time. What I do know is that the Austaralian Health Services cannot cope now, and it certainly would fail the Australian people miserably if CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) disappeared overnight.

I have a huge extended family and we all use natural medicine for everything, though concede in case of accident, we would require medical services. For my own part, I am in my 70’s and have seen a medical doctor I think twice in the last 25 years, and one of those visits was to get a form signed that know one else could sign. I thought that was a bad enough imposition on my freedom of choice.

If there are any petitions started please let me know.

Again best of luck with your case my prayers are with you.

YT

Please take the time to write to the following bodies. Tell them that you support their right to practice, and be sure to include information about the fact that you use natural therapies yourself and you would like to know what they will do to ensure that these treatments will still be available to you and to their members. Contact your local practitioners as well and ask if they have heard about these activities and whether or not they have contacted their industry bodies if they have. If you can cc me with your letters, that would be great at meryl@avn.org.au

Chiropractor’s Association of Australia (CAA) – execassist@caa.asn.au

Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australia (COCA) – info@coca.com.au

Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA) – info@naturalhealingsoftware.com

Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) – info@atms.com.au

Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) – Contact Form

If you know of an association that I have not mentioned which should be contacted (I know there are plenty more), please let me know and I will update this blog post with their details.

Woodford Vaccination Forum

I am just writing a very brief post here because I want to relax a bit this evening but I promised to get these slides up on the website so here goes.

The Woodfordia Vaccination Forum went according to schedule this afternoon. It was standing room only with people sitting in the aisles and standing up all around the back and sides. Stop the AVN paid a lot of money to get an airplane to fly over the venue during the talk towing a banner that said Vaccines Save Lives. I thanked them as soon as I got on stage for the great publicity that led to such a wonderful turn-out. In fact, one person said that they hadn’t known anything about the forum but had seen the plane and came along to find out what all the fuss was about. Good job, SAVN!

The talk went very well. Everyone was polite, there was no heckling and I think that everyone – even the immunologist, agreed that vaccinations should not be compulsory. The audience asked some great questions and the vaccination forum was an example of how this issue can and should be aired – in public and with fairness to both sides.

There was a video tape of the whole talk I’m not sure yet how that will be distributed, but I will let you know when I know.

In the meantime, thanks to all of our AVN members who came along to support this forum. I can’t tell you how heartening it was to look down into the audience and see your smiling faces looking up during the talk.

Here are the slides – I hope you enjoy them. The references should be clickable too!

Woodford Debate 2011 SML

Magic water? The effectiveness of homeopathy


The AMA and most mainstream medical groups have a name for homeopathic remedies – they call them magic water. In their efforts to force the government to restrict access to these remedies which have never caused anyone harm and which have been used safely in both hospital and home settings for well over 200 years, these industry lobby groups have used this term to try and denigrate not only homeopathy itself – but those who administer and use these treatments.

I am not a homeopath and am not qualified to give a professional opinion on this issue. I have, however, used homeopathy myself and on both my children and my pets without any ill effects and have seen this modality work quickly on illnesses which ‘modern’ medicine has no treatment for such as whooping cough, gastroenteritis and (in my dogs) paralysis ticks. I have also read large-scale studies on the use of homeopathic remedies which have often shown them to be safer and more effective than drug-based treatments.

This was brought home to me just yesterday when I spoke with a friend whose husband has been ill and in and out of hospital for the last couple of years. This gentleman has had ongoing health issues for decades and his wife – a trained nurse who has personally used homoeopathy for years (due to her efforts to help her own family when allopathic medicine had failed them) has worked hard to keep him as healthy as possible – a job that has become much more difficult through his precipitous decline in health of late.

Recently, he was once again admitted to hospital. He expected to be back home within a short period of time but this last visit ended up lasting for 6 months! At the time of admission, he was taking one medication. As his condition deteriorated during this period, however, he went from 1 to 22 different drugs a day! With the addition of each one, his health worsened, resulting in an extremely long hospitalisation by anyone’s standards. His wife said that most of the doctors and nurses were extremely caring but none could see or accept that this man’s deteriorating health was because of his treatment, not in spite of it. After all, he was receiving the best treatment our taxes could buy.

And while this woman had tried to advise her husband to have a care and try to reduce the number drugs he was taking, like many who are trapped in the hospital system and fearful of disobeying doctors’ orders, he continued to take the ever-increased number of medications prescribed for him.

I believe it would be correct to say that there would not be any studies in the medical literature on the use of these 22 medications when administered together as to their synergistic or cumulative effects – but that lack of evidence seems to not stop doctors from using drugs in this way.

Eventually this man, unable to leave his bed and exercise appropriately, developed a hospital-acquired pneumonia. These pneumonias are tricky to treat and frequently lead to death because the bacteria associated with them are usually resistant to most, if not all antibiotics. Six weeks of oxygen and numerous oral and intravenous antibiotics did not help. Instead, this man deteriorated even further. Scans and xrays showed that his pneumonia had progressed to a plural effusion (a collection of fluid in the chest cavity around the lung) that had completely collapsed one lung and  partially collapsed the other. A needle was inserted into his chest several times to try and suck out some of the fluid but it was too thick. The radiographer reported that the effusion now appeared to be an empyema (a collection of pus around a lung). As you can imagine, this man was now very sick. He was wheezing loudly as he breathed and even though on oxygen, was still gasping for air. He was also becoming confused at times and imagining people were there when they weren’t.  Surgery was scheduled for 3 days later when an appropriate surgeon would be available. the gunk was to be removed from inside his chest and replaced with an irritant that would cause the inside of the chest wall and the outside of the lung to become inflamed and eventually stick together with scar tissue so that the lung couldn’t collapse again.

Aside from the normal risks of this or any surgical procedure (hospital-borne infection, medical error, a slip of the knife…), his wife knew that once her husband had this surgery, his body and the way it functioned would be permanently altered. 

She talked with her husband and strongly suggested he drop some of the unnecessary medicines, something he had been too anxious to do up to that point, and at the same time allow her to contact their family’s homeopath who had been treating him regularly prior to his hospital admission. He agreed. She then spoke to his doctor and asked if  the surgery could be deferred for a short period so the benefit of the homeopathic remedy could be assessed. The doctor (a respiratory specialist) said that surgery could not be deferred – his lung was so bad that it was unavoidable and that nothing short of surgery would be able to reinflate it – that they had already tried everything they could. 

This was on a Tuesday and the surgery was scheduled for Friday.

Against doctor’s orders, his wife started homeopathic treatment on Tuesday evening – with just one dose of the indicated homeopathic remedy. When she phoned to check on her husband the following morning, he told her that for the first time in ages, he had slept through the night (up until then he was mainly awake at night and sleepy throughout the day). In addition, he thought that maybe, just maybe, he was breathing a little easier. At least she couldn’t hear him wheezing as he spoke – and it seemed to her that he was gasping less and  thinking more clearly. She advised him to repeat the dose of his remedy/medicine through that day as improvement stalled or when he started to feel worse again. By Wednesday evening, his breathing had improved significantly so that he felt that he no longer needed the oxygen. By Thursday morning he decided to throw the mask away.

This couple began to ask for a second scan in the hopes of deferring the next day’s scheduled surgery. Initially, the doctors said it would be pointless and that with the state of his lungs, it was most important that the surgery go ahead. The husband persisted with his request however, saying that he was feeling much better. As the day progressed and the husband was obviously improving, the respiratory specialist, on doing his rounds, was still insistant that the surgery should take place as it was impossible for the lung to improve enough to avoid it but, because the husband was so reluctant and kept pointing out how much better he was doing, he ordered an x-ray. No long after, he was back in the room – there had been remarkable improvement and he had cancelled the surgery. 

The husband insisted and finally, one of the doctors decided to humour him and sent him for a lung scan.

As soon as the results came back, the specialist called the man and his wife and said he was cancelling the surgery because  there had been a remarkable improvment (there was still a little fluid left and they wanted to see if he could recover himself and if not, they would do the operation the following Friday. In fact, improvement continued over the next week at which time, he left the hospital. (They left against medical advice as the staff wanted to continue treatment with the other specialists – but this couple said no because they felt that the medications they kept giving him would eventually kill him)

The surgeon called the wife to ask what remedies she had given her husband and to find out what information she had on how they work. Up until this point, he had never asked to speak with her on her own – only when she happened to be in the hospital when he was visiting. She didn’t talk with him but instead, with one of his junior doctors. When she pointed out that the homeopathy had been given, they couldn’t seem to bring themselves to say the ‘h’ word or discuss it even. All they could say to her was that, yes, there had been a remarkable recovery.

The man checked out of hospital and came home, against the wishes of his doctors, and removed most of the remaining medications and replaced them with natural alternatives and homeopathy – and he is now doing better and better in spite of some serious problems that will remain and probably lead to his death in the future. In hospital, with the ‘best of care’ he just got worse and worse. He and his wife had to fight to stop the treatment and get him back home and were seen as highly irresponsible and ‘non-compliant’. There is much more to tell – this is just a small part of what happened – but it demonstates the power of the appropriate remedy. And one of the junior doctors was kind enough to place the before and after scans and xrays on a disc for them when I asked so they could be referred to in future if required.

So is it magic water or effective medicine? You decide.