AT News Report
KABUL: One new polio case is just confirmed in southern Kandahar province, days after nationwide campaign against the crippling disease kicked off on Monday.
A 60-month-old boy from Ghorak district is infected by the poliovirus. This is the second case reported in 2019, highlighting the ongoing risks of polio and the need for continued immunization, health officials said.
‘From today, polio vaccination teams will visit 5.8 million children under five years old in 195 high-risk districts of 21 provinces of West, Central and Southeast regions of Afghanistan,” said a statement issued by Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
The Minister of Public Health Ferozuddin Feroz urged Afghan people to take the situation seriously and called on people to open doors to vaccinators in the upcoming campaign.
“We already have two cases reported from Kandahar this year. While there is polio anywhere in this country, 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 urge the people of Kandahar and across the country to step up, open your doors and get your children vaccinated. 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 is incurable and can paralyze children for life. The only way to prevent polio virus is to vaccinate all children with two drops of polio vaccine every time it is offered. Children are better protected with every additional dose of the vaccination. Repeated vaccination helps to build strong immunity of your child and the whole community.
The vaccination campaign will take place from 18 – 22 February 2019. Parents should ensure their children are home and available to be vaccinated. All children under five should receive the polio vaccine, including children who are asleep, visiting other homes and newborns, even if they have been immunized in the past. Children who miss the vaccination should visit their local health centre as soon as possible, where the vaccine is available free of charge. The polio vaccine is safe, even for sick and newborn children. It is very important these children get the vaccine, because they have lower immunity which makes them more susceptible to the virus. Polio vaccination has also been strongly endorsed by national and global Islamic scholars, the statement added.
Every country in the world except Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan has ended polio, highlighting the fact that the strategy and vaccines work Twenty-one Afghan children were infected by polio in 2018.