Afghanistan launches polio vaccination drive for 6.4 million children

Teams will visit in 27 high-risk provinces

Kabul.

Afghan health authorities on Tuesday launched a five-day polio vaccination drive in some of the country’s most high-risk provinces.

"Teams will visit 6.4 million children under the age of five in 27 high-risk provinces, mainly in Kandahar and Nangarhar. This follows several new cases in both regions," Xinhua news agency quoted the Public Health Ministry as saying.

The drive was launched as a fresh polio case was detected in Afghanistan earlier this month, bringing the number of confirmed cases since January this year to 14, according to the Ministry.

"Polio is a crippling and a potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure and the polio vaccine is the only safe and effective way to protect children." It added.

In August, the Ministry with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), launched a nationwide campaign targeting 9.9 million children under the age of five.

The ongoing insurgency and conflicts have been hindering the efforts to curb the infectious disease in the mountainous country as 1.2 million children from inaccessible areas have missed previous drives.

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