Afghanistan launches polio vaccination campaign




The Afghan Government, with the support of WHO and the UNICEF, on Monday, launched a nationwide five-day campaign to give immunity vaccination dose to 9.9 million children under the age of five, a statement said.

During the nationwide campaign, vitamin A capsules will also be given to more than 8.9 million children aged between six months to five years, the statement from Public Health Ministry said.

“Vitamin A helps to build a child’s immunity and reduces the risk of diarrhoea, respiratory infections and measles.

“Vitamin A supplements can improve a child’s chance of survival by 12 to 24 per cent,’’ the statement read.

The drive was launched as a fresh polio case was detected in Afghanistan in late June, bringing to nine the number of confirmed cases of poliovirus since January this year.

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The ongoing insurgency and conflicts have been hindering the efforts to stamp out the infectious disease in the mountainous country as 1.2 million children from areas inaccessible to vaccination teams will miss the on-going vaccine drive.

These children will not be protected from the poliovirus and the main provinces affected are Kandahar 117,640 children, Helmand 541,839 children, Uruzgan 119,406 children and Zabul 146,513 children.

Afghan children who risk exposure to polio due to conflicts in their provinces

The polio programme continues to look for ways to reach these children to protect them from permanent paralysis due to polio, the statement noted.