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Editorial: Rescue 1.3m children

Anti-polio drives have begun. The Ministry of Public Health recently announced the launch of a campaign to administer polio vaccines to children countrywide, amid fears anti-polio workers may not reach out to over one million children due to widespread unrest. But a very shocking fact has revealed and that is about 1.3 million children to be prevented from polio due to turmoil. 6.5 million children under age of five years to be covered, but due to spiraling conflict, over one million children will be deprived of polio vaccinations campaign in different provinces. This is alarming. It’s hard to leave this vast majority of children at the mercy of militant outfits who are fueling war, and be witnessed to their life-time paralyze. Around 1,347,000 children could be deprived from polio vaccine in Helmand, Uruzgan, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Kunar and Kunduz provinces, where the anti-government elements are not supporting the implementation of campaign.  Both insurgent groups, Taliban and (IS) Daesh, are active in Kunar and Nangarhar in the east. The Taliban controls of influences the rest of the provinces in south and north, were the venerable Afghan child population is located. All the destructions and impediment in key developments or health campaign, is the reason of the ongoing war across the country. But polio drive has nothing to do it. Even the militant’s children could not be safe from paralyzing without two drops of polio vaccine. For the sack of their children they should allow the vaccine staffers to do their house-to-house vaccinations. Report of nine polio cases has already been registered, which is the highest number of wild polio cases in the world. The latest case of three years old child surfaced last week in Nad-e-Ali district of southern Kandahar province. Record of the new case polio can be a risk alarm to the children nationwide. The nine positive polio cases are included five cases in Kandahar, two case in Kunar, one in Nangarhar and one in Helmand province. Why create hurdle against polio campaign when it’s not forbidden. A large number of Afghan religious scholars have supported polio vaccination drive, terming it prerequisite in immunizing children against polio virus.  The door-to-door campaign would prove huge boost to the efforts to eradicate polio and prevent children from contracting other deadly disease. But this required united efforts with inclusion of militant groups to let the vaccinators do their job in best manner to secure our children.

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