From November 8, Afghanistan to begin nationwide polio vaccination campaign | World News - Hindustan Times
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From November 8, Afghanistan to begin nationwide polio vaccination campaign

Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Avik Roy, New Delhi
Nov 07, 2021 06:09 PM IST

“Without any doubt 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,” Dr Qalandar Ebad, the Taliban's acting health minister said, according to the Associated Press.

A four day-nationwide door-to-door polio inoculation vaccination campaign will begin in Afghanistan from Monday, to inoculate children below the age of five, the Taliban ruled-government said on Sunday. The vaccination campaign in the war-ravaged country was announced by the United Nations in October.

Afghanistan to begin nationwide polio vaccination campaign from November 8.(AP file photo. Representative image)
Afghanistan to begin nationwide polio vaccination campaign from November 8.(AP file photo. Representative image)

“Without any doubt 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,” Dr Qalandar Ebad, the Taliban's acting health minister said, according to the Associated Press.

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Before taking over Afghanistan in August, the Taliban for the last three years had banned the UN for carrying out polio eradication drives in parts of the country that were under their control.

The Taliban were suspicious that members of the vaccination teams could be spies for the previous governments or the West, the Associated Press further reported.

Meanwhile, in other areas in Afghanistan, the vaccination campaign was out of the question due to infighting between previous government and insurgents along with fears of roadside bombs and kidnappings.

Since 2018, around 3.3 million children have not been vaccinated against polio because of the Taliban's ban.

"To eliminate polio completely, every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated, and with our partners, this is what we are setting out to do," Hervé Ludovic De Lys, Unicef Representative in Afghanistan, said in a statement last month.

The target population for the four-day vaccination campaign in Afghanistan is 10 million children below the age of five, which also includes the above 3.3 million who did not receive the jab.

Polio, a life-threatening disease which is transmitted through contaminated water or food, or in contact with an infected person, has been virtually eradicated globally except for Afghanistan and some parts of Pakistan.

Dr Nek Wali Shah Momin, a health ministry official in the polio eradication department, told the Associated Press that the vaccination drive in Afghanistan is a gigantic task and urged for the support of all lined departments.

(With agency inputs)

 

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