Geneva, 25 October 2021 (TDI): The World Health Organization announced that Polio Day was on 24 October. The organization remarked the importance of the two polio vaccine campaigns in Afghanistan. According to WHO, women health workers help navigate social, cultural, religious, and political context.
AFGHANISTAN TO RESUME VACCINE CAMPAIGN
This is to engage the communities. The current strategy against Polio, will continue to support those women. On 18 October, WHO and UNICEF welcomed the decision of the Taliban to support the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination.
It will start on 8 November. Also this will be the first national house-to-house campaign vaccination, in over three years. The note mentions that Afghanistan has only reported 1 case of polio, so far in 2021. They also announced that they agreed to a second nationwide vaccination campaign. This one synchronized with Pakistan’s own polio campaign planned in December.
WHO REPRESENTATIVE IN AFGHANISTAN
The representative of WHO in Afghanistan, Dapeng Luo stated that this represented an important step in the rights direction. He then added that because multiple doses of vaccine provide better protection, the second campaign is necessary. He also mentioned that sustained vaccine access to all children, must be a priority.
UNICEF IN AFGHANISTAN
UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Herve Ludovic De Lys, pronounced about this. De Lys referred that the decision, will allow the international community, to eradicate polio. He then added that to do that, every child in Afghanistan needs to have the full vaccination.
WHO REGIONAL DIRECTOR
WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Ahmed Al Mandhari stated that it is a win for Afghanistan, and the region. Because it opens a path to achieve wild poliovirus eradication. He then added that the urgency the Taliban demonstrated the joint commitment to maintain the health system. Mandhari also mentioned that it is important for the Taliban to restart essential immunizations, to avert further outbreaks of preventable diseases.
DATA ON POLIO
WHO stated that it was critical for the health workers to be able to reach all the children. With vaccines to eradicate Polio, once and for all. According to WHO, there are three strains of wild poliovirus. Type 2, and 3 have officially been certified as eradicated. The Type 2 was eradicated in 1999, and the last case of type 3, was in Nigeria, 2012. Type 1 still affects Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
In 2020, the office of the organization from Africa, declared the continent as wild-polio free. It is important to mention that polio does not have a cure, and it is highly infectious. Polio transmits from person-to-person, and invades the nervous system.
The polio cases were down 99.9% since 1998. But the obstacle now is Covid-19. WHO also stated that 5 out of 6 Organization regions, are certified free of wild polio. Those regions represent 90% of the world’s population.