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Anti-polio drive gets under way

Anti-polio drive gets under way

Mar 13, 2011 - 17:13

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The first round of the spring polio immunisation campaign, covering 7.6 million children under five, got under way across Afghanistaninfo-icon on Sunday, the public healthinfo-icon ministry said.

Involving 46,000 volunteers, the three-day campaign began in 30 provinces, the acting health minister, Suraya Dalil, told reporters at the Ibni Sina Hospital in Kabul.

Due to severe cold, Bamyan, Daikundi, Ghorinfo-icon and Badakhshan provinces are left out and so are 14 districts in different parts of the country -- Salang in Parwan, Behsud in Maidan Wardak, Nawar, Ajristan, Malistan and Jaghori in Ghazni and Farsi in Herat.

The areas would be covered by the next polio drive, the acting minister said, adding 4.2 million children (2-3 years) would be administered Albendazole deworming pills.

She asked local officials and insurgents to cooperate with the volunteers and treat the immunisation efforts as their religious and national duty.

Head of Afghan Red Crescent Societyinfo-icon, Fatima Gilani, called the campaign a significant step. Her society and the public health ministry were trying to make it a success, she added.

The involvement of 12,000 Red Crescent Society volunteers showed their cooperation with health officials, Gilani said. The campaign will cost $3.1 million (140.182 million afghanis).

Afghanistan, Pakistaninfo-icon, India and Nigeria are the four polio-endemic countries, where efforts are being made to contain the crippling disease.

Meanwhile, the USAIDinfo-icon said it supported the Acute Flaccid Paralysis Polio Surveillance Network in Afghanistan, a monitoring system, through WHO, which operates at national, regional, provincial, and district levels. 

The network gathers essential information about polio risk and vaccination, providing important datainfo-icon about gaps in vaccination and helping to identify needed community-level interventions.

“Our most heartfelt wish is to never again see a child – anywhere – with the badly crippled limbs that polio creates. We want every child to grow straight, strong, and healthy, and be able to contribute to a bright future for his or her country…,” said USAID Mission Director Earl Gast.


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