House-to-house polio vaccination campaign to recommence across Afghanistan
A nation-wide polio vaccination campaign will resume in Afghanistan next month, UNICEF announced Monday.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_In a statement issued by the organization, the World Health Organization and welcomed the decision by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leadership supporting the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination campaign.
The vaccination campaign, which begins on November 8, will be the first in over three years to reach all children in Afghanistan, including more than 3.3 million children in some parts of the country who have previously remained inaccessible to vaccination campaigns.
“This is an extremely important step in the right direction,” said Dapeng Luo, Representative in Afghanistan.
“We know that multiple doses of oral polio vaccine offer the best protection, so we are pleased to see that there is another campaign planned before the end of this year. Sustained access to all children is essential to end polio for good. This must remain a top priority,” he said.
With only one case of wild poliovirus reported so far in 2021, Afghanistan has an extraordinary opportunity to eradicate polio. Restarting polio vaccination now is crucial for preventing any significant resurgence of polio within the country and mitigating the risk of cross-border and international transmission.
“This decision will allow us to make a giant stride in the efforts to eradicate polio,” said é_Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.
“To eliminate polio completely, every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated, and with our partners, this is what we are setting out to do,” he said.
The polio programme has started preparations to rapidly implement the nationwide vaccination campaign, which is a result of ongoing high-level dialogue between the UN and the to swiftly and urgently meet the health needs of the people in Afghanistan.
“This is not only a win for Afghanistan but also a win for the region as it opens a real path to achieve wild poliovirus eradication,” said Dr Ahmed Al , WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
In addition to this, UNICEF reported that as the overall health system in Afghanistan remains vulnerable, all parties have agreed to immediately start measles and -19 vaccination campaigns in order to against the risk of a rise in diseases and deaths.
This will be complemented with the support of the polio eradication programme and with outreach activities that will urgently begin to deliver other life-saving vaccinations through the national expanded programme for immunization, UNICEF reported.
While the safety and security of health workers remains a prime concern for the , the IEA leadership has expressed their commitment for the inclusion of female frontline workers and for providing security and assuring the safety of all health workers across the country.