We’re very pleased to have as our next speaker Bankole Falade (LSE). Bankole Falade is a former toxicologist and worked as a teacher and in agricultural extension. He also worked for over a decade as journalist in Nigeria. He completed the MSc in Social and Public

Communication at the London School of Economics and Political Science and currently, is a 4th year PhD student in Social Psychology at the LSE. Details of the seminar are below.

All welcome. If you’d like to join the email list then please contact Simon. This will be the last seminar of this academic session.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Professor Martin Bauer, Dr Simon J Lock, Dr Jane Gregory

Date, Time and Location:
Wednesday 26th June 2013

Venue: STC.314, St Clement’s, LSE

Speaker: Bankole Falade

Title: Vaccination Controversy, Religion and Attitudes to Science in Nigeria


In 2003, the leaders of two prominent Islamic groups in Nigeria called for a boycott of the Oral Polio Vaccine being administered nationwide as part of the global campaign to eradicate the virus citing its contamination with sterilizing substances by the West to depopulate the developing world. The announcement was the precursor of a major revolt which led some states in northern Nigeria to ban the distribution of the vaccine. Resistance to public vaccination dates back to the 19th century and has often been fuelled by disagreements among scientists on safety. The controversy provides the context for a study of the public understanding of science in Nigeria. This study involves media analysis (2001-2009 of several newspapers) including the period of the vaccination controversy peaking in 2004; and a series of qualitative investigations on the relationship between religion and science in Nigeria. Finally, I conducted a PUS survey (November, 2012 in Lagos N=377) on scientific knowledge, attitudes, myths, religious belief and vaccination uptake. In this talk, I will focus on the survey results which show attitude to science expressed in three facets (three factors, 46%): fear, myth and progress. In the first step, the attitude facets will be related to socio demographics, knowledge, myth, trust in actors, fundamental attitude to the world and religious belief. In a second step, the whole attitude complex will be related to the uptake and evaluation of vaccination. While there is overwhelming support for immunization among the respondents, people with reservations are about 10-15%.  The science attitude complex will be used to predict reservations (logistic regression). This might be able to show the significance or irrelevance of public understanding of science for the vaccination issue. The third step is the relative importance of religious belief or scientific knowledge on attitudes. Is there a conflict or compatibility between science and religion in Nigeria?

About the Seminar Series

The London PUS seminar is an interdisciplinary intercollegiate seminar concerned with the broad range of topics that fall under the headings of public understanding of science, public engagement with science, science communication, and science-in-society.  It has been run jointly between LSE and UCL since 1993 and is open to all. Our participants predominantly come from a wide range of academic disciplines, and the science policy and science communication/public engagement communities. It is currently supported by the Public Understanding of Science journal published by SAGE and the Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL.