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Taliban hamper anti-polio drive in Badakhshan

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The presence of local and foreign insurgents in north-eastern Badakhshan province caused huge obstacles against polio vaccination drive as more than hundred children were deprived from polio vaccine, health officials said on Tuesday.

Public health official Syed Farooq Nasar told Pajhwok Afghan News a number of local and foreign insurgents were hampering the polio vaccination drive in Raghestan.

“We have been unable to vaccinate around 2,100 children under five years of age; we have been in talks with the governor, the district chief and tribal elders to help persuade the Taliban to let medics conduct the drive, but there is no response yet” he added.

He informed that vaccination drive had been ongoing in 27 district of Badakhshan. “The anti-polio drive will cover about 255,545 children.”

He furthered that 195,296 children between 2-5 year age would also be given deworming tablets.

He added: “We have managed to conduct vaccination drives despite is poor security in the province. But we haven’t been able to take our campaign to Taliban-held areas or where families of foreign militants are residing like Raghestan andKhastakJurm.”

In the past, Dr. Noor Mohammad Khawari, provincial public health director, said that the presence of foreign insurgent deprived at least 2,000 children from polio vaccination in the Raghistan district.

Pakistani militants hindering polio campaign in the province, he said in that time, asserting that the children must have two drops of polio against the crippling disease.

He called on the Taliban and other insurgent outfits to let vaccine staffers drop polio to the children in insecure areas. The government and the Taliban should help polio staffers in order to cover every children of polio vaccine in the province, he added.

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