Taliban to support WHO polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan next month |

The vaccination campaign will begin on November 8 and will be the first in more than three years to reach all children in Afghanistan.

This includes more than three million children in parts of the country that were previously inaccessible to vaccination campaigns against an infectious disease that can cause paralysis and death.

A second nationwide vaccination campaign will also be carried out in conjunction with a national polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan in December. “We know that multiple doses of oral polio vaccine provide better protection.” – Dapeng Luo, WHO This was stated by the representative in Afghanistan. “Continuous access to all children is essential to ending polio forever. This should remain a top priority. ”

‘Exceptional opportunity’

Since only one case of wild poliovirus has been reported in Afghanistan this year, the WHO has said the country has “an exceptional opportunity” to eradicate the disease.

The agency stressed that resuming polio vaccination is now critical to preventing any significant re-outbreaks of polio in the country and reducing the risk of cross-border and international transmission.

An additional dose of vitamin A will also be provided to children aged 6 to 59 months during the upcoming campaign. “To eradicate polio completely, every child in every family across Afghanistan must be vaccinated, and together with our partners, this is what we set out to do.” – Hervé Ludovic De Lis, UNICEF This was stated by the representative in Afghanistan.

Measles, COVID vaccinations

The polio program is the result of ongoing high-level negotiations between the UN and the Taliban leadership to urgently address the health needs of the Afghan population.

To reduce the risk of increased overall morbidity and mortality, all parties also agreed on the need to start measles immediately and COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

WHO noted that this will be complemented by support for the polio eradication program and outreach activities that will promptly initiate the provision of other life-saving immunizations as part of the national expanded immunization program.

“Shared Commitment”

“The persistence with which the Taliban leadership wants to continue the campaign against polio demonstrates a joint commitment to maintaining the health system and resuming essential immunizations to prevent further outbreaks of preventable diseases,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean … …

However, WHO has confirmed that the country’s health system as a whole remains vulnerable.

Filling in the gaps

International Organization for Migration (IOM) says he is quickly preparing to fill urgent gaps to ensure that the Afghan health system does not collapse in the medium term.

Currently, seven of the eight Mobile Medical Teams (IOM) operate in four border provinces. In addition, in the near future, it is planned to expand aid to Kabul, the western province of Ghor and the northern provinces of Balk, Badakhshan and Badghis.

In these northern provinces, IOM said it is scaling up to further support the provincial health department with the MHT, rapid response teams (RRTs) for COVID-19 and additional vaccinators.

Safety first

WHO stressed that the safety and protection of health care workers remains a major concern of the polio program.

The organization said that the Taliban leadership has committed itself to engaging women on the front lines and ensuring the safety and security of all health workers across the country.

WHO and UNICEF have called on authorities and community leaders at all levels to respect and maintain the neutrality of all health interventions and to ensure unhindered access to children now and in the future.

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