Taliban ‘prevents’ 3.5 million children from getting polio vaccine
More than 3.5 million children have been deprived of anti-polio vaccinations due to restrictions imposed by the Taliban in several provinces, the Ministry of Public Health claimed Saturday.
Afghan voice agency (AVA)_The Ministry stated that the #Taliban’s_restrictions on the house-to-house #vaccination_campaign has increased from three to ten percent of homes in the last three years.
Mirjan Rasikh, head of the #Polio_Eradication Program said: “Although the Taliban promised to cooperate in implementing the vaccine, they have prevented it more so than in the past.”
“Children in Paktia and #Maidan_Wardak have missed the immunity doses against the polio virus due to the Taliban’s restrictions,” Rasikh said.
The vaccination campaign began last week.
The Taliban not only failed to cooperate with the process but also prevented thousands of children from getting the vaccine in Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, Kunduz, Takhar, Paktika, and Paktia provinces, the Public Health Ministry said.
A number of civil society activists in eastern provinces have meanwhile called on the Taliban to allow the vaccination campaign to be implemented in areas under their control.
“The Taliban prevented the campaign in areas under their control. We asked them to allow the children to get the vaccine,” Sayeed Jamal Asifkhel, a Paktia civil society activist stated.
Meanwhile, children in Bamiyan, Daikundi, and Ghor provinces also missed out on the vaccine program as healthcare workers were prevented from rolling out the vaccines due to poor weather conditions.
In November last year, the Taliban announced that the group would cooperate in implementing the vaccination campaign, but later the group’s spokesman told Ariana News that the campaign was stopped due to what he put down to “abuses” during the vaccination process.