Polio immunization campaign launched in low-performing districts throughout Afghanistan
Over 5.2 million children to be immunized over four days
KABUL 18 April 2016 – The Ministry of Public Health along with its partners UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a campaign today to vaccinate every child under the age of 5 against polio in all districts in the Southern, Eastern, Southeastern Regions and 28 districts in the Northern, Northeastern and Western Regions. The campaign will reach around 5.2 million children living in low-performing districts and will run until 22 April.
Polio is a crippling disease that is incurable and can only be prevented through vaccination. Every child under the age of five in Afghanistan should be vaccinated during each round. Only two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan – are still considered polio-endemic countries.
“Wherever children are not immunized, children’s lives are at risk all over Afghanistan. We urge all parents and caregivers to vaccinate their children against polio since the polio vaccine is the only way to protect children from permanent paralysis and even death,” said H.E. Minister of Public Health Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz.
The polio vaccine is safe and the only effective prevention for polio disease. Polio vaccines are halal and have been specifically endorsed by leaders of the Islamic community. It is important to note that the polio vaccine is safe for newborn, sleeping and sick children. The vaccine has no side effects and it will not interact with other illnesses.
The campaign, which runs for four days with an additional day on Friday for vaccinators to revisit “missed” children, will be carried out by around 25,000 trained vaccinators. These vaccinators and other frontline health workers are trusted members of the community and they have been chosen because they care about children.
Eradication of polio in Afghanistan is possible within the next year if each child is reached during every vaccination campaign. Parents who miss having their children vaccinated over the next four days are urged to visit local health centres where their children can be vaccinated against polio.
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