KABUL (SW) – Health officials in the south of the country have reported five new positive cases of polio virus.
Dr. Mohammad Siddiq, deputy chief of the Polio emergency operations office in the south-western part of the country, told Salam Watandar that three positive cases of polio had been reported in Kandahar province. According to him, two more cases have been registered in Helmand and Uruzgan provinces.
Officials said the reason for the new positive cases of the virus is the non-implementation of the vaccine in Taliban-held areas.
A day earlier, polio immunization campaigns were resumed in Afghanistan and Pakistan – the last two polio-endemic countries in the world – months after COVID-19 left 50 million children without their polio vaccine.
The United Nations Children's Fund said in a statement that in Afghanistan, polio immunization programs restarted in three provinces in July. “These life-saving vaccinations are critical if children are to avoid yet another health emergency,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia. “As the world has come to see only too well, viruses know no borders and no child is safe from polio until every child is safe.”
Polio is a highly-infectious, crippling and sometimes fatal disease that can be avoided with a vaccine. Children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable.