KABUL: Afghanistan’s public health ministry said Sunday that a four-day nationwide vaccination campaign has begun to inoculate children under age 5 against polio.
Over 3.3 million children have not been vaccinated over the past three years because of fighting between Taliban and the previous government.
Acting public health minister, Dr. Qalandar Ebad, said that polio is a disease that without treatment will either kill our children or cause them with permanent disability, so in this case the only way is to implement the vaccination.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic and the disease can cause partial paralysis in children. Since 2010, the country has been carrying out regular door-to-door vaccination campaigns, giving the vaccine to children. Most of the workers are women, since they can get better access to mothers and children.
Starting on Monday, the inoculation campaign will take place countrywide, Ebad said. The estimated target population is Afghanistan’s 10 million children under age 5, including the more than 3.3 million who could not be reached since 2018.
Nek Wali Shah Momin, a health ministry official in the polio eradication department, said that vaccination of children under age of five years old in the country during the national immunization days is a gigantic task. “It is not possible for the ministry of public health alone to complete this task successfully, so we need the support of all lined departments,” he said.