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Ghazni children missed on polio vaccine for ‘years’

Ghazni children missed on polio vaccine for ‘years’

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Jul 27, 2017 - 16:20

GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): Residents of remote areas in southern Ghazni province say their children have not been vaccinated against the crippling polio disease for the past many years. They say their children were missed on vaccination because polio teams never arrived in their areas.

Khan Mohammad, a resident of Tapor area in Deh Yak district, told Pajhwok Afghan News on Thursday that polio workers last visited their area two years ago.

“But no one came after that. Our people also do not know what the vaccine is and why it is given to children,” Mohammad said.

He said polio workers feared wrath of Talibaninfo-icon and therefore they refused to work in remote areas.

Abdul Aleem, a resident of Gawmishk area of Qarah Bagh district, said for the past several years no polio team had arrived in their area.

“Those responsible for giving the polio drops to children bring the vaccine home and give the drops to their own children and keep others in the dark,” alleged the resident.

He said some 800 families lived in the area and their children had long been deprived of vaccination against polio.

Similarly, a resident of Zari Qala area of Andar district, Mohammad Aman, said the Taliban did not allow polio workers to visit the area. “I can show you at least 10 persons who are apparently paralyzed by the polio disease,” he claimed.

A number of other residents expressed similar views and urged the authorities concerned to pay attention to the issue.

Civil societyinfo-icon activist in Ghazni City, the provincial capital, Mohammad Kazim Rassouli, said residents of the province not only faced problems in vaccinating their children against poliovirus but they struggled with various other issues in the heath sector.

“In many districts, healthinfo-icon facilities are dysfunctional. In this situation how can polio workers go to remote areas,” said the activist, who stressed people’s participation in the anti-polio campaigns.

In response to these concerns, Worldinfo-icon Health Organization official in Ghazni Fazl Ahmad Hanif told Pajhwok Afghan News that insecurity kept polio workers from visiting some areas in the province.

“Gamishk and some other areas were missed on the vaccination campaign, but we will send teams to the areas as soon as the security improves,” he said, adding no positive polio case had been detected so far this year in Ghazni.

Hanif said their target was 341,000 children in the next vaccination drive in Ghazni province.

The Taliban say they are not against vaccination against any disease. Their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the drops should be administered to children by workers after their recognition by the Taliban.

“Individuals who are not known to the Taliban will not be allowed to go ahead with the vaccination because most of such people happen to be government spies.”

A dozen positive polio cases surfaced in Afghanistaninfo-icon last year.

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