Polio vaccination campaign kicks off in Afghanistan

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The ministry of public health of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), in cooperation with relevant international agencies launched the last round of the polio vaccination campaign for this year.

The ministry said in a statement that the campaign will be launched in 242 high risk districts of 26 provinces of Afghanistan targeting nearly seven million children under the age of five.

According to the ministry in the east region, the campaign will be rolled out one week later in that region as it comes close on the heels of the previous campaign.

In 2022, nine rounds of polio vaccination campaigns including six national and three regional were carried out this year.

“Each campaign has brought Afghanistan closer to interrupting the transmission of the virus,” read the statement.

Afghanistan is now closer to polio eradication than ever before.

“This year, to date, two polio cases, one in Paktika and one in Kunar, have been reported. This is a significant reduction compared to 56 polio cases in 2020 and four cases in 2021,” read the statement.

Dr. Qalandar Ebad, the Minister of Public called on the nation to respect health workers who are working to save the lives of children.

“The people, especially parents, should respect the efforts of the vaccination teams that save the life of their children, (and save them) from deadly and permanently paralyzing polio disease by administering two drops of the vaccine,” Ebad said.

The Minister also called on people to cooperate with vaccination teams so children get vaccinated.

“Parents should present children under the age of five to the vaccinators to be vaccinated so that they are protected from the disease,” the Minister added.

Polio is a viral disease that has no cure and can only be prevented by vaccination. The disease is mostly prevalent in children and can cause permanent paralysis or even death.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries where polio is endemic.

The Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan calls on all local officials, community elders, influencers, scholars, and parents to cooperate with vaccination teams in their communities for the successful implementation of this campaign so that no child will be paralyzed by the virus and this disease can be eradicated from Afghanistan forever.—Ariana news