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19 polio cases so far in Afghanistan: Health Officials

AT News Report

KABUL: Officials from the World Health Organization, Save the Children and the Afghan Ministry of Public Health has reported at least 19 new polio incidents in the country over the past ten months.

All cases were reported in the eastern and southern regions of the country, said the officials.

According to the World Health Organization, Afghanistan and Pakistan are among the two nations where the polio virus is still threatening the lives of children.

“I want to emphasize that everybody has a role to play in eradicating polio. In this regard, I want to speak directly to Afghan mothers and fathers about the importance of vaccinating their children against polio,” said Lawrence Chabirand, the Deputy Polio Team Lead for UNICEF.

Najma, 21, is a physiotherapist who became the victim of polio when she was a child.

“I suffered a heavy polio fever. During that time there was war and there were no health services for the public,” said Najma Hajjizada, a Polio victim.

These cases are including, eight incidents in Uruzgan, five in Helmand, three in Kandahar, one in Paktika, one in Kunar, and one in Nangarhar.

According to the Afghan and international health officials, security threats and the migration of Afghans between Afghanistan and the Pakistan, are among the key factors providing obstacles to the complete eradication of the virus.

“75 cases of polio have been recorded in Pakistan, with most of the incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, the Afghan government spent $8.5 million in a polio vaccination campaign last month, however, violence has been preventing the complete eradication of the virus.

“Wherever the vaccine reaches, the children are saved from being paralyzed,” said Dr. Zubair Wadood, Team Leader of WHO’s Polio Eradication Program in Afghanistan.

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