Afghanistan launches polio vaccination targeting 9.9mn kids

Kabul, Jan 17 (IANS) The Afghan Public Health Ministry on Sunday launched a nationwide campaign to administer polio vaccines to 9.9 million children under the age of five.

The five-day drive was launched as 56 polio cases were detected in Afghanistan in 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing insurgency and conflicts have been hindering the efforts to stamp out the infectious disease in the mountainous country as millions of children from areas inaccessible to vaccination teams might miss the ongoing vaccination drive.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two remaining polio endemic countries in the world., according to the Unicef.

The ban on house-to-house campaign approach since May 2018 has impacted negatively on the polio eradication progress in Afghanistan, leading to 3.4 million children being missed in every round of a National Immunization Day (NID), it said.

The situation deteriorated further when a nationwide ban was imposedon all vaccinations in April 2019 for a period of five months, exposing nearly 10 million children to the poliovirus.

–IANS
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