KABUL (Xinhua) – The Afghan government kicked off a five-day anti-polio vaccination campaign on Monday, a statement of the Public Health Ministry said.
The campaign’s first phase will wrap up on Sept. 18 during which the doctors and thousands of volunteers would give the immunity doze against the crippling virus to children in 20 out of the country’s 34 provinces, the statement added. Over six million children under five are scheduled to be vaccinated.
The anti-polio drive was initially supposed to launch five months ago but has been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Positive polio cases in war-battered Afghanistan have reached 46 with 32 of them in the southern region where access to rural areas is difficult due to security problems, according to the statement.
"We will not allow polio to hurt our children’s health. I ask the entire parents and caretakers of children to welcome anti-polio teams including doctors, nurses and volunteers to vaccinate their children against the crippling disease,” Minister of Public Health Ahmad Jawad Osmani said as quoted in the statement.
Over 9.9 million children have not been vaccinated against polio due to COVID-19 outbreak in February in Afghanistan, the statement said.
It added the first phase of anti-polio campaign covers 6.1 million children under five and the remaining 3.8 million children will receive the immunity doze in the second phase of the anti-polio drive within months.