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Polio campaign to immunize 5.9m children begin

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KABUL: The Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with the WHO and UNICEF, is launching the last round of Sub-National Immunization Days (SNIDs) for polio eradication in the country in the year 2019, before it ends. This round of SNIDs will be implemented in two phases, targeting 5.9 million children under the five years in 198 high polio risk districts of 21 provinces throughout the country.

According to a statement issued by Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), the campaign will be implemented between 16 to 20 December, for five days in all regions of the country excluding South West Region.  Since there has been very recent polio positive case response campaign launched in southern region, therefore, this region will be covered during 23 and27 December, 2019.

“Although the Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with its national and international partners, is striving to eradicate polio, but the security challenges and reaching all under five years’ children in the country are two major obstacles to make Afghanistan a polio free country.” said Dr. FerozuddinFeroz, Minister of Public Health of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. “I urge all conflict parties and stakeholders in the community to pave the ground for immunizing every under five-years child against this crippling disease, because the only way for protecting the children from polio and to eradicate this virus is to vaccinate every child for five years in every round of the campaign.” Dr. Feroz added. 

Poliomyelitis is an extremely infectious and dangerous disease that can cripple or kill children. Polio vaccine is safe, free and effective and protects children from this disease.

All under five years of age children should be taken to the vaccination teams or nearest health facility to be immunized against polio with two drops of vaccine, including those children, who have already been vaccinated in previous campaigns. SNIDs are a strategy to eradicate polio. Many other countries of the world have eradicated the polio by implementing of NIDs/SNIDs accordingly.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world that continue to report polio cases. As of 14th December 2019, there are 24 polio cases reported in Afghanistan (9 from Uruzgan, 5 Helmand, 4 from Kandahar, 2 from Paktika, 1 from Kunar, 1 from Nangarhar and 1 from Baghlan provinces) and 101 polio cases reported from Pakistan.

Play your role in polio eradication: Ensure that all children are protected against polio virus. Bring your children for immunization and also encourage neighbors and friends to take the same action for well-being and healthy future of their children.

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