The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Polio vaccination drive kicked off nationwide

KABUL: Polio vaccination drive has been kicked off, vaccinating around 10.72 million children under the age of 5 across the country, the Ministry of Public Health said in a statement Monday. The four-day campaign will cover 31 of the country’s 34 provinces. Vaccinations in Ghor, Daikundi and Bamyan provinces will be implemented later due to recent rains and cold weather and children under five of age will receive vaccines and vitamin A simultaneously, the statement said. Dr. Qalandar Ebad, the Acting Public Health Minister said: “Together with our partners, we are committed to eradicating polio from Afghanistan and we will work tirelessly and continue polio vaccination campaigns and complementary health services until we reach the goal of fully eradicating polio.” The ministry urged religious scholars and local elders to cooperate with vaccine providers to fight against polio, a debilitating disease that can lead to paralysis and death. In December, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the repatriation of migrants from neighboring Pakistan has increased the risk of spreading the virus. Since then, Afghanistan has conducted at least three rounds of nationwide vaccinations. Vaccination campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan often face challenges due to conspiracy theories that polio vaccines cause infertility or that vaccinators are spies. Families are urged by the acting public health minister to vaccinate their children against the poliovirus to combat this virus effectively. The campaign comes as Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the last countries where this virus still exists. It’s worth mentioning that this virus causes permanent paralysis and, in some cases, even death, but vaccinating children can prevent contracting this disease. Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan, making it one of the last two countries in the world where the disease persists. Since the beginning of 2023, six children have been diagnosed with polio, all of them in Nangarhar province, a region in the eastern part of the country. Rohullah

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.