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UN Contacted Taliban for anti-polio campaign: Lanzer

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Toby Lanzer, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan has confirmed that the organization was on contact with members of the Taliban group and asked assistance in conducting the anti-polio campaign in Shahwalikot district of Kandahar province.

Lanzer informed media persons that five new polio cases were reported in 2017 in the district of Shahwalikot in Kandahar province which is the highest number in the world.

He added that thousands of children were vaccinated against the in Shahwalikot as a result of an agreement between UN and Taliban members responsible for health.

He further added that the first round of the polio vaccination campaign has been completed successfully and two more rounds are expected to be carried out in the area in the near future.

Lanzer said the polio virus spreads very quickly, and it is crucial for a series of at least three mass vaccination campaigns to take place to prevent the disease from reaching more children in the area.

The health authorities, with support from UNICEF and WHO, on Wednesday completed the first of three polio vaccination campaigns in Shahwalikot, and in the neighboring districts of Miyanshin and Nesh, reaching 43,000 children.

Lanzer claimed that last year 17 cases of polio were recorded across Afghanistan and adding that Afghanistan remains one of three countries in the world that is still polio-endemic.

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