Polio vax drive resumes in Afghanistan

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In the years after the Taliban was overthrown in 2001 by a US-led coalition, vaccination campaigns had made much progress in the country….reports Asian Lite News

A natiowide polio vaccination drive will begin in Afghanistan on Monday, for the first time since the Taliban took over the country in August, the Unicef announced.

According to the Unicef, the incumbent Taliban-led government in the country has allowed the UN agency to carry out the drive across Afghanistan, reports Khaama Press.

In the years after the Taliban was overthrown in 2001 by a US-led coalition, vaccination campaigns had made much progress in the country.

However, as the Taliban made inroads again, door-to-door visits by polio workers had been banned in Afghanistan, for three years now.

Monday’s drive will be the first in over three years to reach all children in Afghanistan, including more than 3.3 million kids in parts of the country who have “previously remained inaccessible to vaccination campaigns”, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

Unicef said the doses were efficient and has asked parents in Afghanistan to get their children vaccinated to prevent paralysis.

Besides restarting polio vaccination, a supplementary dose of vitamin A will also be provided to children aged 6
to 59 months during the upcoming campaign, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The safety and security of health workers remain a prime concern for the polio programme.

But Taliban leadership has expressed their commitment for the inclusion of female frontline workers and for 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 Unicef had said in an earlier statememt.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two remaining polio endemic countries in the world.

According to a Nature report, polio cases tripled in the country between 2018 and 2020.

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