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Editorial: Polio vaccination

Optimistically, it seems that Afghanistan is putting steps forward to be declared as a polio free state because vaccinator teams had increased their accessibility to drop vaccine to the children in the country.

“More than 650,000 children of one million children would be covered by the vaccinating campaign in the eastern zone,” Najibullah Kamawal, public health director for Nangarhar province said.

General situation is better comparing to last year as no polio cases had surfaced during the past 14 months, he said. Furthermore, he said threats posed by the insurgents to anti-polio campaigners had decreased, and the number of children previously deprived of vaccination reduced from 75,000 to 15,000. However, still we have to go long way to cover all children and secure them from this crippling disease.

Moreover, he said that there is still security threats against polio staffers in Parando, Gurguri, Kasona, Awghaz, Lagharjo, Shadal Bazar and Dakhal Nazian areas of Pachiragam, Haska Mina, Kot, Achin and Nazian districts.

It is a crystal fact that insecurity is a major challenge in front of the anti-polio vaccination drives. Insurgency wreck havoc on most parts of the country. Anti-polio drives are constantly hampered by insecurity. The insurgent groups hampering polio process in different parts of the country. For instance, health officials in Badakhshan province had termed the presence of local and foreign insurgents as a huge obstacles against polio vaccination drive as more than hundreds children were deprived from having two drops of polio against crippling disease.

Moreover, according to the provincial officials, Pakistani militants hindering polio campaign in the province. It was also reported that the arrival of foreign militant with their families from Pakistan has caused more polio cases besides fear of spread. It is not for the first time that provincial officials come with such sayings, as previously they said that 20 families of the foreign insurgents had settled in the Khastak locality of Jurm district, and they were creating obstacles ahead of polio campaign in the province.

The core reason behind opposing polio vaccination is the lack of awareness among the militant outfits. Misconception over polio drops should be removed. Religious scholars not only in Afghanistan, but all over the world see no problem with the process. Anti-polio vaccination is legitimate from Islamic perspective. Healing is not a crime, but those opposing it are criminals. Several innocent children have been paralyzed. What was their crime? The sinners are those who let their children to be paralyzed, while it can be cured with only two drops of polio.

Polio campaign has nothing to do with politics. It is hoped that all parties involved in Afghanistan not only to respect polio drive, but also provide safe grounds for polio staffers to cover those children who are in insecure areas under their control.

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