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Anti-polio drive targeting 9.9m children launched

Anti-polio drive targeting 9.9m children launched

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On
Aug 13, 2017 - 18:00

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sunday launched the third phase of an anti-polio campaign targeting 9.9 million children, including 90,000 children who were missed in previous rounds.

Public Health Minister Dr. Firozuddin Firoz during the campaign’s launch ceremony said around 90,000 children were missed on the vaccine in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces in previous campaigns due to lack of coordination among health organizations.

He said 9.9 million children under five years of age would receive anti-polio drops and 8.9 million under six months would receive Vitamin-A during the drive launched today, August 13.

The minister said around 350,000 children in Kunduz, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar and Lghaman provinces could not be administered polio drops early months of this year due to insecurity, but they were later covered with support of local influential figures and tribal elders.

According to MoPH, two phases of the anti-polio campaign have been previously launched this year and a fourth phase will be launched in winter this year.

The ministry says two positive polio cases were recorded in Kandahar, two in Helmand, one case in Kunduz and one case in Zabul since the beginning of 2017. Last year, 13 positive cases were registered in Afghanistan.

An Islamic scholar, Mualvi Shamsur Rahman Frotan, said giving anti-polio vaccine was important and those preventing it were destroyers of a nation.

He said those who propagating against the vaccine without any reason were committing a major sin and violating Islamic principles.

UNICEF representative in Afghanistan, Adele Khodr, who was also present at the ceremony, said anti-polio vaccine was important in eradication of the virus and asked parents to vaccinate their children for protection against the disease.

World Health Organization (WHO) head for Afghanistan, Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, in his message read out on the occasion, said many achievements had been made in polio eradication in Afghanistan in the past two years.

But five new cases were detected this year in southern parts of the country due to some problems and movements of people to the region from Pakistan’s border areas.

Detection of new positive polio cases in Helmand and Kandahar provinces was a matter of concern for WHO and children missed in previous rounds must be vaccinated, he stressed.

Peeperkorn in other part of his message said WHO was committed to eradicating polio virus in Afghanistan. Besides Afghanistan, the polio virus is still endmic in Pakistan and Nigeria.

mds/ma