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Almost 10 million children targeted in national polio immunization campaign

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(Last Updated On: December 13, 2021)

The fourth round of the national polio immunization campaign in Afghanistan is scheduled to start Monday and will be synchronized with Pakistan to improve cross-border polio eradication efforts.

According to a statement issued by UNICEF, the campaign will run until Thursday and aims to reach 9.9 million children aged 0-59 months across the country.

In the South and East regions, and provinces of Paktia and Ghazni in the South East, Ghor in the West, and Balkh in the North, the campaign will run a week later, from 20 to 23 December.

This is the second campaign to reach children in areas previously inaccessible by the polio program.

The November 2021 campaign delivered polio vaccinations to 8.5 million children under the age of five, including 2.4 million children who were vaccinated for the first time in over three years, UNICEF said.

“We are intensifying efforts to reach the maximum number of children across the country, but we need sustained access to rapidly build immunity against polio, especially in areas we have not been able to reach in the last few years,” said Dr Dapeng Luo, WHO Representative in Afghanistan.

“The November campaign was a massive leap forward and the upcoming campaign will further strengthen the progress we are making. Six more campaigns are planned for 2022 and we must ensure they are implemented timely and reach all children,” he said.

Four wild poliovirus type 1 cases have been reported in the country so far. The first WPV1 case of 2021 was reported in January 2021 from Ghazni province in the Southeast region, while the other three cases were reported in October and November from Kunduz province.

Health

MoPH marks World AIDS Day in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Ministry of Public Health marked World AIDS Day on Sunday under the theme “Get tested for HIV, free, easy and confidential”.

Officials of the health ministry said that more than 3,000 people in the country are infected with HIV/AIDS, 75% of whom are men and 25% women, including a small number of children under the age of fifteen.

According to MoPH, out of 12,000 suspected infections, 3,000 of them have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

“3229 cases of AIDS have been registered in Afghanistan, of which 75% are men and 25% are women. Likewise, 195 of them are children under the age of 15,” said Habibullah Akhundzada, deputy minister of health services.

Economic problems, immigration, blood transfusions with contaminated equipment, low level of awareness among people, illiteracy, and drug addiction are said to be factors behind the increase of AIDS in the country.

Meanwhile, MoPH has expressed hope and said that the ministry will deal with this disease with a small budget.

“Five percent of AIDS cases are among drug addicts and we tried to help AIDS patients as much as possible with all the economic problems,” said Haidar Khan, head of MoPH’s disease prevention unit.

On the other hand, officials said that the spread of the disease in Afghanistan is 0.1 percent.

Based on statistics, Afghanistan has one of the least numbers of people infected with AIDS in the world.

“Until now, 3,292 people are suffering from HIV disease, of which 27% are aware of their disease and 9.5% are under treatment,” said Mohammad Akhtar, WHO’s program manager for Afghanistan.

According to figures, the number of people suffering from this disease in the world totals more than 38 million people, and more than 600,000 people died from the disease last year.

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Pakistan sends medicines assistance to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

Pakistan has handed over medicines assistance for three hospitals built by the country in Afghanistan.

The handover ceremony on Friday was attended by Afghan Public Health Minister Qalandar Ibad and his Pakistani counterpart Abdul Qadir Patel.

The first consignment is leaving for Jinnah Hospital, Kabul. Second will be dispatched to Amanullah Logari Hospital in Logar and third to Nishtar Kidney Center in Jalalabad, Pakistan’s special envoy Mohammad Sadiq said on Twitter.

“Pakistan built hospitals in Afghanistan have most modern structures & equipment. Pakistan is now also providing assistance to run them, including supporting all expenditure/salaries and provision of medicines. These hospitals have the potential to become centers of excellence,” Sadiq said.

Pakistan has allocated 500 million rupees for running of these hospitals.

They could be managed through public-private partnership or other sustainable mechanisms, Sadiq said.

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875,000 children in Afghanistan at risk of severe wasting: UNICEF

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2022)

As many as 875,000 children in Afghanistan are at risk of severe wasting, the United Nations agency for children said on Tuesday.

Sam Mort, chief of communication of UNICEF in Afghanistan, said on Twitter that the organization needs urgent support to prevent and treat malnourished boys and girls.

This comes after Save the Children said last month that child malnutrition cases has risen nearly 50 percent in Afghanistan as hunger hits recorded levels.

The rate of admissions in Kabul’s main children’s hospital, Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital, has also increased.

“The hospital will use everything at its disposal to treat the children. Admissions at the hospital have increased due to lack of health facilities in provinces,” said Mohammad Haseeb Rahimzai, head of Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital.

In May, Save the Children reported that about 9.6 million children in Afghanistan have been unable to secure food on a daily basis due to the deepening economic crisis in the country, the impact of the Ukraine war, and continuing drought.

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