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Taliban to launch polio campaign across Afghanistan

It will be the first drive in three years

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Photo: AFP

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The Taliban government has decided to launch an anti-polio campaign across Afghanistan on November 8, the United Nations Children's Fund announced Monday. A press release issued by UNICEF stated that the Taliban have pledged to support the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination across the war-torn country. According to WHO, this will be the first campaign in over three years aiming to reach out to all the children in Afghanistan. It will include areas of the country that were "previously inaccessible to vaccination campaigns". The press released added that another nationwide polio campaign is also on the cards. It will be synchronised with Pakistan's polio drive, which has been planned for December. The campaign is the first since the Taliban's takeover in August. It will vaccinate children aged from six years to 59 months Afghanistan's new rulers have also committed to "providing security and assuring the safety of all health workers across the country, which is an essential prerequisite for the implementation of polio vaccination campaigns," the agencies said. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries where the wild version of the poliovirus continues to spread. In rare cases, polio infections surface in other countries caused by one type of polio vaccine that is no longer used -- OPV -- which contains small amounts of weakened but live poliovirus. The UN agencies noted that only one case of wild poliovirus had been reported in Afghanistan since the start of the year, providing "an extraordinary opportunity to eradicate polio." "Restarting polio vaccination now is crucial for preventing any significant resurgence of polio within the country and mitigating the risk of cross-border and international transmission," they said. Herve Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF's representative in Afghanistan, stressed that "to eliminate polio completely, every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated." "With our partners, this is what we are setting out to do." The UN agencies said that children under five would also be provided with an extra dose of Vitamine A during the campaign. The discussions with the Taliban leadership had also resulted in agreement on the need to "immediately start measles and Covid-19 vaccination campaigns", they said. With additional information from AFP.
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The Taliban government has decided to launch an anti-polio campaign across Afghanistan on November 8, the United Nations Children’s Fund announced Monday.

A press release issued by UNICEF stated that the Taliban have pledged to support the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination across the war-torn country.

According to WHO, this will be the first campaign in over three years aiming to reach out to all the children in Afghanistan. It will include areas of the country that were “previously inaccessible to vaccination campaigns”.

The press released added that another nationwide polio campaign is also on the cards. It will be synchronised with Pakistan’s polio drive, which has been planned for December.

The campaign is the first since the Taliban’s takeover in August. It will vaccinate children aged from six years to 59 months

Afghanistan’s new rulers have also committed to “providing security and assuring the safety of all health workers across the country, which is an essential prerequisite for the implementation of polio vaccination campaigns,” the agencies said.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries where the wild version of the poliovirus continues to spread.

In rare cases, polio infections surface in other countries caused by one type of polio vaccine that is no longer used — OPV — which contains small amounts of weakened but live poliovirus.

The UN agencies noted that only one case of wild poliovirus had been reported in Afghanistan since the start of the year, providing “an extraordinary opportunity to eradicate polio.”

“Restarting polio vaccination now is crucial for preventing any significant resurgence of polio within the country and mitigating the risk of cross-border and international transmission,” they said.

Herve Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF’s representative in Afghanistan, stressed that “to eliminate polio completely, every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated.”

“With our partners, this is what we are setting out to do.”

The UN agencies said that children under five would also be provided with an extra dose of Vitamine A during the campaign.

The discussions with the Taliban leadership had also resulted in agreement on the need to “immediately start measles and Covid-19 vaccination campaigns”, they said.

With additional information from AFP.

 
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