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Afghanistan launches anti-polio campaign to vaccinate 6.7m children

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KABUL: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) with financial and technical support of its health partners will launch from today (Monday) the Sub-National Immunization Days (SNIDs) with the aim to vaccinate around 6.7 million children under the age of five against polio. This round of SNIDs will be implemented during five days from 24 to 28 February 2020 in 224 districts of 24 provinces of the country, the ministry has said in a statement on Sunday.

The campaign will be conducted in 107 districts house to house (H2H) and in 66 districts health facility to health facility (HF2HF) and in the rest both H2H, HF2HF and Site to Site (S2S.)  But unfortunately, in this round, more than 1.9 million target children were estimated in-accessible as well.

The Minister of Public Health Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz urged Afghan people to take the situation seriously and called on people to vaccinate their children the upcoming campaign, “all children are at risk. Polio will continue to fight for survival. Immunization is the only way to put an end to this virus. We don’t want to see any more children paralyzed by polio, and we need to work together to stop polio once and for all. “

Polio vaccine has been approved and confirmed by Islamic scholars in Afghanistan and entire Islamic world in the perspective of Islamic Sharia. They recommended that all children must be immunized and protected against all preventable disease including polio. Now, it is the obligation of all parents and caregivers to ensure their children are vaccinated.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world that continue to report polio cases. In 2019, Afghanistan reported 29 polio cases and there are no new cases reported in 2020 in Afghanistan. But in Pakistan the total polio cases in 2019 reach to 144 and 17 cases in 2020.

 The Ministry of Public Health is requesting the religious leaders and community leaders to provide support for polio workers and encourage the parents and caregivers to vaccinate their children.

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