Kabul: Afghanistan’s first polio case in 2019 was reported in Kandahar province, where a 22-month-old girl from Spin Boldak district was infected by the poliovirus.
According to a statement the Minister of Public Health, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz said, “this case indicates that the poliovirus is still transmitting in Kandahar and the South region. This child’s life is now changed forever. It is really sad that she will never walk properly again, therefore I call upon all of you, our Muslim parents, caregivers, community elders and health workers to work together to protect our innocent children against this disease and eradicate polio in our country.”
He said that Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure and the polio vaccine is the only safe and effective way to protect children. All children should be vaccinated against polio during each campaign, until they reach the age of five. House-to-house vaccination is the only effective way to achieve polio eradication because it means every child has access to vaccination. This strategy has been implemented in all countries, and has proven efficacy. However, if parents live in areas where there is no house-to-house campaign available, they should take their children to the local health facility for free polio vaccine.
The polio vaccine is safe, even for sick and newborn children. It is very important these children get the vaccine, because they have low immunity which makes them more susceptible to the virus.
Polio vaccination has also been strongly endorsed by national and global Islamic scholars, he added.
Currently, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the only three remaining polio-endemic countries in the world. There were 21 cases reported in Afghanistan in 2018. Of these, 15 cases were in the Southern region, while 6 cases were in the Eastern region. There is a polio vaccination campaign carried out in the Southern and Eastern Regions of Afghanistan, parents should ensure their children are home and available to be vaccinated.