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    Anti-polio drive launched amid increasing cases

    KABUL (PAN): The second round of an anti-polio campaign, targeting seven million children, was launched across the country, amid increasing number of positive cases, the Public Health Ministry announced on Saturday.

    So far 40 positive cases of polio disease have surfaced in Kandahar, Helmand and Farah provinces this year, Dr. Sakhi Kargar, the public health ministry spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    The number of such cases reported last year was 25, he said, adding insecurity had been preventing the vaccination campaign in the said provinces.

    Sakhi said the return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan to Kandahar and Helmand also resulted in the increasing number of polio cases in the two provinces.

    Nearly 110 positive cases of polio were registered in Pakistan this year and 144 last year, he said.

    The official said about 7.8 million children would be administered polio drops along with vitamin-A capsules during the three-day vaccination drive involving more than 55,000 volunteers and health workers.  

    The Public Health Ministry in a statement has asked tribal leaders and religious scholars to cooperate with heath workers in making the anti-polio campaign a success.