Nationwide polio vaccination campaign starts in Afghanistan
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations children's agency kicked off a polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan today.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations children's agency kicked off a polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan today. This is the first nationwide campaign to fight the disease in three years.
The Taliban-run Afghan public health ministry announced yesterday, the start of a four-day nationwide polio vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating children under age 5. For the past three years before taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban had barred UN-organised vaccination teams from doing door-to-door campaigns in parts of the country under their control.
The group apparently was suspicious the team members could be spies for the previous government or the West.
Because of the ban and ongoing fighting, some 3.3 million children over the past three years have not been vaccinated. The Taliban's acting public health Minister, Dr Qalandar Ebad, said 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.
Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic and the disease can cause partial paralysis in children.