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Editorial: Polio an acid ordeal

Vaccination is one of the efficient and cost-effective interventions to reduce mortality and morbidity among children under-five year age. The two drops of polio is very much important to put off from the fatality and disability caused by vaccine preventable diseases. Covering all children under-5 is one of the key goals of the government aimed at declaring Afghanistan a state free of polio—a crippling disease. Conversely, significant progress has been made towards global eradication of the deadly virus and protection of millions of children from lifelong paralysis. Afghanistan is the third country, after Pakistan and Nigeria that the disease still remains endemic. But, however, efforts had been speedup to its abolition.

The Ministry of Public Health the other day announced the second round of a sub-national immunization campaign against polio, covering 5.6 million children under the age of five years. With the help of UNICE and WHO, the ministry had launched the campaign in all provinces in the southern and southeastern regions, most districts in the eastern zone as well as some other areas, including Kabul, the capital city. Surely, it is the right of all Afghan children to grow up healthy and it is the responsibility of the related organs to must put 100 percent ensuring that children receive two drops of the polio. The goal of polio-free Afghanistan could only be reached when all children to be covered with these life-saving vaccines and through, we would be able to eradicate polio from the country.

However, the enemies of Afghanistan at somehow have already injected anti-polio sentiments to the minds of people, especially living in the remote or under militant control areas. Nevertheless, scholars have supported vaccine drive and it is not against Islam at all. The vaccine, endorsed by scholars, is safe and it does not have any side-effects even for the sick and newborn babies. In 2017, two police cases were registered in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, while in 2016, 13 polio cases were reported, a spectacular downhill from 20 in 2015. Contaminated food and water cause polio virus enter to the human body through Oro-fecal and then the virus multiply in the small intestine. After that the viruses enter to the blood system, invade the nervous system and causes flaccid paralysis. It is an acid ordeal but at the same time curable with polio drops.

Insecurity is also another challenge ahead of polio staffers as they are not able to safely travel to all districts and cover the children. All engaged parties in the Afghan conflict have to put politic language aside, and despite not hampering but also come up to the fore and help vaccine staffers to peacefully conduct vaccine across the country.

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