Lack of security affects

Lack of security affects polio vaccination in West

Monitoring Desk

HERAT: Half of children under five years of age will be deprived of polio vaccinations in western provinces of Herat, Farah and Badghis due to security threats, according to officials from health and security departments.

There are more than 1.1 million children under five years of age in the western provinces, officials said, adding that two rounds of polio vaccination have been conducted in the west zone over the past two months. The new round begins on Monday, according to officials.

A polio vaccination campaigner, Abdul WaheedRahmani, said four cases of polio have been reported in Farah, Herat and Badghis provinces.

“Our coverage in areas where we conduct the campaign house to house is over 95% but in areas where we conduct it in mosques and clinics, the coverage might not be more than 20%,” Rahmani said.

But local officials said efforts are underway to cover those areas as well.

“Our campaign is house-to-house (in Herat), except in Gulran, Kushk and Rabat Sang. It is not house-to-house in Kushk-e-Kohna and Shindand (districts), as the opposition (militants) did not allow the campaign to be conducted house-to-house,” said Mohammad AsifKabir, deputy head of public health directorate of Herat.

“There is a need for people’s cooperation to make this campaign a success,” Herat deputy governor Mohammad DaudHashemi said. “Security forces will ensure the safety of this campaign if there is any security threat.”

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are polio positive while it has been eradicated from other parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization.

A religious scholar in Herat, Sayed Ahmad Hussaini, called on the Taliban not to prevent the campaign in areas under their influence in the west of the country.

“Medication has been encouraged in Islam. If children are infected (with polio), it will not only damage them but others as well,” Hussaini said.

Figures by local authorities show that at least 650,000 children were vaccinated in the two rounds of the campaign in Herat over the past two months.(TOLOnews)

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