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Polio immunization drive kicks off in low-performing districts

By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: The Ministry of Public Health along with UNICEF and the World Health Organization kicked off the polio immunization campaign on Monday to vaccinate every childunder age of five years in the low-performing districts.

The polio immunization campaign was launched in all districts of southern, eastern, southeastern regions and also in 28 districts of northern, northeastern and western regions. The campaign would reach around 5.2 million child living in low-performing districts and would run until 22 April.

“Wherever, child are not immunized against polio, their life is at risk. We urge parents and caregivers to vaccinate their children against polio, a crippling disease. Polio vaccine is the only way to protect children from permanent paralysis and even death,” said Public Health Minister, Ferozuddin Feroz.

“Two drop of polio is only medicine that prevent children from polio, a disable disease,” he said, adding that polio vaccinations halal “not forbidden in Islam”, and has been specifically endorsed by leaders and scholars of the Islamic communities.

“It is important to note that polio vaccine is safe for newborn and sick children. The vaccine has no side effects and it would not interact with other illnesses,” he added.

The minister furthered that the campaign would run for four next days with an additional day on Friday. “The vaccinators would reexamine “missed” children, and this process would be carried out by around 25,000 trained vaccinator staffers. These vaccinators and other frontline health workers are trusted members of the community,” he added.

He called on parents to vaccinate their missed children against polio in the next four days in local health centers.

Polio is a crippling disease that is incurable and can only be prevented through vaccination. Every child under age five in Afghanistan should be vaccinated during each round. Only two countries–Afghanistan and Pakistan–are still considered polio-endemic countries.

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