National Immunization Days for Polio Eradication launched in across of Afghanistan

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Today a three day National Immunization Days (NIDs) campaign was officially launched in 34 provinces of Afghanistan. This round of NIDs campaign was start on 2 May and continues for 3 days.

MoPH with the technical and financial support of the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) and donor communities conducts this supplementary immunization to provide immunity against polio to almost 7.8Millionunder 5 years age children to stop circulation of wild polio virus Afghanistan and administration Vit A to 7 Millionchildren between the age of (6-59 months).

Importation of virus from neighboring countries, for 47 cold districts beside of vaccine and Vit A tablet albendazol will be administrate to children between age (24- 59 months). By achieving and sustaining these two targets, Afghanistan will soon obtain the status of a polio free country.

52376staff of MoPH and volunteers will drop polio vaccines to the mouth of 7.8 Millionunder 5 year age children. This is a huge operation which covers all villages and provides a unique opportunity to Afghan families to get their children vaccinated against Polio and be in contact with the health workers.

MoPH leadershiprequest all Afghans, health workers and health partners to provide any kind of help and support to this process so that all target children could get vaccinated in the coming 3 days.

MoPH is determined that to achieve the purpose of the Polio Disease Eradication in 2012, in current first six months of 2011 conduct 2NIDs and 2 Sub NIDs in across of the country, one sNIDs round of the vaccinations have been completed successfully and this is the second round of NIDs which the cost of this round was estimated about $US 4 million.

In current year one positive polio cases registered from Kandahar province. Afghanistan in among of 4 Endemic countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria).

Dr.suraya (Dalil) urged families in all the provinces to look out for vaccination teams and make sure their children receive the vaccine. “Polio immunization is an essential way of safeguarding children’s health, and preventing this crippling disease,” she said. “The vaccine, which is used all over the world, is safe and easy to administer. It takes just a few seconds to immunize a child.”

What is polio?

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. The virus enters the body through mouth and multiplies in the intestines and then it invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, and stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. There are certain key facts about polio for example there is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life; poliovirus can travel from village to village and from country to country through un-immunized children, one un-immunized child can leave tens or hundreds more paralyzed for life. Children everywhere are at risk of infection.

High population density, bad environmental sanitation, bad personal hygiene, low routine EPI coverage, bad SIAs coverage, high population movement and hidden inaccessible communities are the factors that can sustain polio virus circulation.

Poliovirus is spread by the “fecal-oral” route, which, despite its unsavory name is a common route of microbial infection. The virus can be isolated from human feces and sewage. In areas where raw sewage enters a watershed without treatment, polio can be found in rivers, lakes and streams. When a susceptible person drinks water from one of these sources (possibly from the kitchen tap when local water supplies are not treated properly), the virus enters his/her digestive tract.

MoPH Afghanistan is indebted to many individuals and health stakeholders, especially Afghan families and elders, the USAID, the World Bank, the European Commission, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, Rotary International, CIDA, CDC and JICA, National and international NGOs.