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Afghanistan moves further closer to eliminating polio

Afghanistan moves further closer to eliminating polio

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Apr 25, 2017 - 18:14

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The unity government’s polio eradication program ‘has made significant progress over a short period of time,’ an official said on Tuesday, hoping to stop the poliovirus circulation from all parts of Afghanistaninfo-icon soon.

The polio high council, which includes government and donors to address planning, implementation, and coordination strategy, held a meeting with participation of representatives from line ministries, supportive departments, international partners and donor agencies in Kabul on Tuesday.

Dr. Najibullah Mujaddedi, the presidential focal point for polio eradication, called the meeting ‘as a sign of the government’s commitment to interrupting the polio virus transmission in Afghanistan.

He said government’s seriousness in polio eradication not only helped the polio eradication initiative achieve significant progress in a short period of time, but also offered great experience on how crucial coordination between different departments could be.

Public Healthinfo-icon Minister Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz said insecurity remained a major challenge to immunization campaigns.

However, by maintaining program neutrality, engagement of community and negotiation at different level, the minister said they had managed to gain access to areas out of government’s control.

He said northern Kunduz province, which was missed for 16 consecutive months, had recently become accessible and they immediately conducted two rounds of polio camping in the course of 20 days.

During 2016, the circulation of virus was contained into a small geographical area of Afghanistan and the coverage of immunization campaign passed over 95 percent in the last five rounds getting the campaign even more closer eradicating polio, Dr. Feroz further said.

Representatives of the line ministries, supportive departments, international partners and donor agencies pledged their support in eradication of polio in Afghanistan and termed the role of the polio high council and their support as a desperately needed to the program.

pr/ma

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