Afghanistan launches polio vaccination in high-risk provinces

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The Afghan Public Health Ministry launched a five-day campaign to give immunity vaccination dose to 6.4 million children under the age of five in 27 of the country’s 34 provinces, the ministry said on Monday.

“Polio vaccination teams will visit 6.4 million children under the age of five in 27 high-risk provinces, mainly in Kandahar and Nangarhar.

“This follows several new cases in both regions,’’ the statement read. According to the statement, the drive was launched as a fresh polio case was detected in Afghanistan earlier this month, bringing to 14 the number of confirmed cases of polio virus since January this year.

“Polio is a crippling and a potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure and the polio vaccine is the only safe and effective way to protect children,’’ the ministry said.

In early August, the ministry with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), launched a nationwide campaign targeting 9.9 million children under the age of five.

The ongoing insurgency and conflicts have been hindering the efforts to stamp out the infectious disease in the mountainous country as 1.2 million children from areas inaccessible to vaccination teams missed the latest vaccination drive.

NAN