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New polio case detected in Kunar’s Warapur district

New polio case detected in Kunar’s Warapur district

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May 30, 2019 - 13:31

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A new polio case has been detected in a three-month-old child in the Watapur district of eastern Kunar province.

The child has been permanently paralysed, the Ministry of Public Healthinfo-icon (MoPH) said. It brings to eight the number of polio cases surfacing in Afghanistaninfo-icon in 2019.

This is the first case detected in eastern Afghanistan this year, according to a statement from the ministry. The rest of seven incidents have been reported from the south.

Relatively large areas in Watapur have been inaccessible for most of polio vaccination campaigns and routine immunisation. Around 85% of target children (8,500 out of 9,821) were inaccessible in last Subnational Immunization Activity conducted in April.

Inaccessibility in Watapur district has been dynamic since many years now. This area has been under Daesh control since August 2018 and before that, it was under the control of Talibaninfo-icon.

Public Health Minister Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz expressed his deepest concern, calling inaccessibility a big challenge in reaching every child with two drops of polio as his/her right to a healthy life.

There are two major challenges to polio eradication efforts in Afghanistan: First, inaccessibility that means many children are unable to be vaccinated in every round of polio vaccination campaign due to security problems.

The second challenge is low awareness of community about importance of polio vaccine and risk of polio virus to their children.  Combined, these two issues mean that many children are needlessly at risk of permanent paralysis due to polio. 

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure and the vaccine is the only safe and effective way to protect children.

All children should be vaccinated against polio during each campaign, until they reach the age of five. House-to-house vaccination is the only effective way to achieve polio eradication because it means every child has access to vaccination.

This strategy has been implemented in all countries, and has proven to be most effective. However, if parents live in areas where there is no house-to-house campaign available, they should take their children to the local health facility for free polio vaccine.

The polio vaccine is safe, even for sick and newborn children. It is important that newborns and sick children get the vaccine, because they may have lower immunity which makes them more susceptible to the virus.

Polio vaccination has also been strongly endorsed by national and global Islamic scholars.

Currently, only Afghanistan and Pakistaninfo-icon are reporting endemic polio cases. So far, in 2019, Afghanistan has reported 8 and Pakistan has 19 polio cases.

pr/sa/mud

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