Polio in Afghanistan: The United Nations is planning a nationwide vaccination campaign

Image credit: UNICEF

For the first time in many years, the United Nations has announced a statewide polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan.

Unicef, a children’s organization, said the Taliban had given their full support to the project, which is set to begin in early November.

According to the CIA, the Taliban will allow female personnel on the campaign and provide security to the teams. The extremist group has previously fought vaccination, wrongly claiming that it is a Western plot to sterilise Muslims.

The house-to-house immunisation campaign, which begins on November 8, is expected to reach approximately 10 million Afghan children under the age of five, according to Unicef.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef, the campaign would be the first in over three years to reach all children in Afghanistan, including more than 3.3 million youngsters in some parts of the country who had hitherto been inaccessible to vaccination programmes.

“This judgement will allow us to make a huge step forward in the fight against polio. To entirely eradicate polio, every child in every Afghan home must be vaccinated “Unicef’s representative in Afghanistan, Hervé Ludovic de Lys, stated.

The UN also announced that a second polio vaccination campaign would be coordinated with a similar operation in neighbouring Pakistan. After Africa was proclaimed polio-free last year, the disease is now only prevalent in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In recent years, militant attacks on inoculation efforts have resulted in the deaths of a large number of people. Polio is most common in children under the age of five, and it can result in irreversible paralysis. When respiratory muscles are harmed, death can result.

Although there is no cure, the polio vaccine protects youngsters for the rest of their lives.

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