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3.5 million Afghan children still need nutrition treatment: WFP

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(Last Updated On: March 14, 2022)

United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has expressed concern over the plight of children in Afghanistan and said that 3.5 million Afghan children currently need nutrition treatment.

In a tweet on Sunday WFP said: “Acute malnutrition rates in 28 out of 34 provinces are high with more than 3.5 million children in need of nutrition treatment support.”

The organization stated however that thanks to donors, “many children have access to life saving nutrition treatment.”

Last month, Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said the organization has provided $2 billion in aid to Afghanistan since the fall of the former government.

She also said that the organization will continue its contribution to Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan makes progress toward polio eradication

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(Last Updated On: August 16, 2022)

One year on from Afghanistan’s transition of power in August 2021, the polio eradication programme in Afghanistan has made critical gains – but the job is far from finished.

Wild poliovirus transmission in Afghanistan is currently at its lowest level in history.

Fifty six children were paralysed by wild poliovirus in 2020. In 2021, the number fell to four. This year to date, only one child has been paralysed by the virus, giving the country an extraordinary opportunity to end polio, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

The resumption of nationwide polio vaccination campaigns targeting 9.9 million children has been a critical step.

With access to the entire country following the August transition, seven nationwide vaccination campaigns took place between November 2021 and June 2022, and a sub national campaign targeting 6.7 million children in 28 provinces took place in July.

Of the 3.6 million children who had been inaccessible to the programme since 2018, 2.6 million were reached during the November, December and January campaigns.

With improving reach to previously inaccessible children during subsequent campaigns, the number of missed children has been reduced to 0.7 million.

Additional campaigns are planned for the remainder of the year.

With Afghanistan and Pakistan sharing one epidemiological block, the two countries continue to coordinate cross border activities. December and May’s campaigns were synchronized with Pakistan’s national campaigns, focusing on high-risk populations including nomadic groups, seasonal workers and communities straddling both borders, WHO reported.

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US and Britain roll out campaigns after poliovirus detected in water samples

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2022)

The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples from New York and London has sparked fears of a possible public health crisis but health experts in the United States believe that the virus is unlikely to secure widespread transmission in the country, especially in highly vaccinated areas.

Medical Daily reported that the US declared the eradication of poliovirus in September 1994, and not many people are aware of the disease it causes and its symptoms at present. There is also limited awareness on how it spreads.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poliovirus spreads through person-to-person contact and other ways, such as the oral-fecal route and droplets.

Poliovirus is so contagious it can contaminate food and water in unsanitary conditions. Transmission is inevitable when a person makes contact with the feces from an infected person while infection via droplets from a sneeze or cough is less common, Medical Daily reported.

The CDC noted that an infected person could spread the virus almost immediately before and up to two weeks after the symptoms of the disease appear. Once the virus enters the mouth, it can stay in the intestines for many weeks. Asymptomatic people can still pass the virus to other people and make them sick, the report read.

Last month, the US reported its first case of polio in almost a decade.

Meanwhile, Britain rolled out urgent polio vaccinations this week for all London-based children below 10 after the discovery of polio traces in sewage samples across several London boroughs. The move was made after the detection of polio in wastewater samples from New York, London and even Israel sparked fears of a wider outbreak.

Among the symptoms of polio, paralysis is the one most commonly associated with the disease since it can lead to permanent disability or even death. Scientific data showed between 2 and 10 out of 200 infected people develop paralysis and die because the virus can significantly impact the muscles used for breathing.

Since there is no cure or specific treatment for paralytic polio, patients rely on long-term physical or occupational therapy to help them with arm or leg weakness.

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Pakistani doctors treat 3,764 Afghan patients at free eye clinic in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

A team of Pakistani ophthalmologists examined a total of 3,764 Afghan patients at a four-day free eye clinic at Noor Hospital in Kabul this past week.

The free clinic was organized by an 11-member team of Pakistani doctors in collaboration with the Pak-Afghan Cooperation Forum, Al Khidmat Foundation, and Afghan Ministry of Public Health.

The Pakistani doctors performed a total of 516 surgeries. These included 482 cataract surgeries, 22 oculoplastic surgeries and 12 vitreoretinal surgeries.

Dr. Zahir Gul Zadran, head of Noor Hospital, thanked the organizers for their support and said: “These doctors have also brought medical equipment to this hospital for the treatment of patients, the value of which is about Rs 2.4 million lakhs ($10 million).

Zadran said this was the second time that these doctors visited Noor Hospital to treat Afghan patients.

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