FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): More than 7,000 children in areas under Taliban’s control are likely to be deprived of anti-polio vaccination in northeastern Badakhshan province; local officials said on Monday, a day after a nationwide anti-polio drive was launched.
Badakhshan public health director Noor Mohammad Khawari told Pajhwok Afghan News that a Taliban commander in Warduj district had warned they would not allow polio drops to be administered to children in the district.
He said the Taliban wanted a clinic in the district to be reopened after it was closed over allegation of treating injured rebel fighters.
“It is a matter of concern that more than 5,000 children will be deprived of the vaccine in Warduj district alone,” Khawari said.
However, he said they were trying to convince the Taliban through local elders and Islamic scholars to allow the children to be vaccinated. “But there has been no response.”
The public health director said another some 2,000 children under five years of age had not been administered polio drops in Raghistan and Kohistan districts in the previous campaigns.
“The public health department is also trying to ensure security of vaccinators through local elders to vaccinate children in the two district.”
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sunday launched the third phase of the nationwide anti-polio campaign targeting 9.9 million children, including 90,000 children who were missed in previous rounds.
The ministry says two positive polio cases were recorded in Kandahar, two in Helmand, one case in Kunduz and one case in Zabul since the beginning of 2017. Last year, 13 positive cases were registered in Afghanistan.