Home / Latest Updates / Moving toward polio-free Afghanistan: ‘Polio spring campaign kicked off, MoPH calls on conflict parties to support polio drive

Moving toward polio-free Afghanistan: ‘Polio spring campaign kicked off, MoPH calls on conflict parties to support polio drive

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Ministry of Public Health on Sunday started the spring round of National Immunization Days (NIDs) to eradicate polio in the country.

This campaign will be continued in cooperation with World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF from 27-31 March, which through more than 8.8 million children under the age of five will be vaccinated against polio and over 7.9 million aged 6 months to 5 years will be given vitamin A tablets. The campaign will cover all provinces except Bamyan, Daikoni and Ghor provinces due to cold weather.

“Polio campaign is a national drive for every child, so I call over all conflict parties to pave the ground for vaccinators to reach every home,” said Minister of Public Health, Ferozuddin Feroz.

He said that Afghanistan is closer than ever to being certified as polio-free country.

He said that only two polio cases have been reported in 2017, one from Helmand and another from Kandahar. Recently one cases is reported from Kunduz, but till date not confirmed.

He insisted that ending transmission of polio is possible, if all children to be vaccinated in each round across the country.

“Poliodisease has been eradicated in 99 percent of the country, only remained in one percent,” he asserted.

Polio case transmitting from Pakistan via Afghan refugees, Afghanistan in close cooperation working with Pakistan to eradicate polio, he added.

He reiterated the need to ensure the safety of the committed volunteers and front line health workers to perform successfully their noble duties in delivering health services to every Afghan household to protect all children from this paralyzing disease.

He termed insecurity as a challenge ahead of vaccinators, adding that “number of our vaccinator killed in Helmand, Uruzgan, Kandahar and some other provinces.”

He said that also six vaccinators killed in a suicide attack in 6th PD in Kabul last month.

Minister insisted that support of media channels, influential figures, religious scholars, health workers, teachers, students and community will enable the ministry to eradicate polio from the country.

Meanwhile, the WHO and UNICEF representatives committed to support the NIDs campaign to lead Afghanistan toward free polio in near future.

Afghanistan war weary country since long time suffered from polio epidemic which can cause life-long paralysis, but it can be prevented with a simple vaccination, so today the MoPH announced that this country is closer than ever to being certified as polio-free country. In 2015 polio cases reached to 20, in 2016 declined to 13 cases  (Seven cases of polio in Barmal of Paktia, four cases in Shigal of Kunar and one case reported in Nawzad of Helmand provinces.) since the beginning of this year only two cases haven reported one in Helmand another in Kandahar. Also a case reported in Kunduz, but not confirmed.

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