New poliovirus diagnosis laboratory in Kabul starts to operate

KABUL (SW) – The first polio diagnosis laboratory has been established in Kabul city, with the aim of detecting samples of the poliovirus in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Naser Hanafi, head of the poliovirus diagnosis laboratory, says that this laboratory, developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Afghanistan, was constructed at a cost of 800,000 US dollars. The laboratory has the capacity to process 500 polio samples weekly.

Meanwhile, Qalandar Ebad, the Acting Minister of Public Health (MPH), intense to declare Afghanistan polio-free within the ongoing year.

“Previously, polio samples were sent outside the country for diagnosis. Within six months, this diagnostic laboratpry will be able to process polio samples in Afghanistan. We are committed to eradicating polio from Afghanistan this year,” stated Ebad.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries where polio has not yet completely disappeared.

According to 2023 statistics, Afghanistan has reported six cases of polio, compared to two cases recorded in 2022.

Officials from the Operational Center of the Middle East Polio Division emphasize the importance of collaborative efforts between Afghanistan and Pakistan to eradicate polio.

Hamid Jafari, the head of the center, pleges ongoing cooperation to enhance the capacity of the poliovirus diagnosis laboratory.

“We continue our cooperation with the health sector, especially to combat against polio in Afghanistan.”