72 children die of measles in Nuristan
A health worker in the Kamdesh district, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Pajhwok Afghan News that most of the deaths occurred in Baz Gul, Sarith, Petigal and Manda Gul areas, where the Taliban did not allow vaccination of children.
A lawmaker from the province, Maulvi Ahmadullah, also said several children had died of measles in Kamdesh. He added the deaths showed the weakness of the heath ministry.
He claimed the disease had spread to Barg-i-Matal district, fearing the death toll could increase. The legislator urged the ministry to take urgent measures to prevent the disease from spreading to other areas.
However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they had thwarted vaccination campaigns in no part of the country. He accused health officials of hiding their failure to administer vaccines to children in the district by blaming the deaths on the Taliban.
Mujahid believed health officials should train locals to administer anti-measles vaccines to children. He accused the authorities of selling medicine meant for distribution to hospitals.
Calls seeking comments from the provincial public health department were not answered. But top public health official for eastern zone, Dr. Baz Mohammad Sherzad, said they had no report about children's deaths in Kamdesh district.
A spokesman for the public health ministry, Ghulam Sakhi, rejected as baseless the report.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.