Connect with us

Latest News

Ghani gives UNICEF’s polio unit boss 24 hours to leave Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: January 28, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani gave Mohammed Mohammedi, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) polio eradication team in Afghanistan, 24 hours to leave the country, a presidential spokesman said.

According to a Facebook post on Wednesday by Dawa Khan Menapal, Mohammedi was given notice to leave the country for “ignoring the president and for the lack of transparency in his work.”

Meanwhile the Ministry of Public Health said that UNICEF had spent $22 million on an awareness campaign around polio but failed to provide a report to government.

According to Masooma Ghafari, the deputy spokeswoman for the health ministry, there was still an increase in the number of cases despite money having been spent on polio campaigns.

“We need to bring changes in the section,” she said.

Ghani’s sudden move to have Mohammedi expelled drew sharp criticism from some analysts who felt the move would have a negative effect on aid coming in from international organizations.

“Unfortunately, President Ghani’s act with an international organization was startling, and the act will affect the planning of international organizations badly,” said Asif Mobaligh, an international affairs analyst.

Ghani chats to Bill and Melinda Gates about polio concerns

The sudden move to expel Mohammedi also comes just days after Ghani held a telephone conference call with Bill and Melinda Gates whose Foundation is a key donor in Afghanistan’s drive to rid the country of wild polio.

During the meeting the Gates and Ghani expressed their concerns over the surge in polio cases in Afghanistan due to restrictions imposed by the Taliban in areas under their control, the Presidential Palace said in a statement after the virtual meeting.

“The two sides also held a comprehensive discussion on reforming the polio vaccine implementation process and increasing facilities in this regard,” the statement read.

Bill and his wife Melinda run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – a funding organization. Polio eradication is one of their top priorities.

The virtual meeting on Monday night came after the Afghan Ministry of Public Health claimed that more than 3.5 million children have been deprived of anti-polio vaccinations due to Taliban restrictions.

Lancet reports 2020 was a bad year for polio

Earlier this month, the world’s leading medical journal, The Lancet, reported that there is growing concern about the effect the COVID-19 pandemic could have on global efforts to eradicate the disease.

Polio vaccination campaigns in Afghanistan were stopped in March last year for several months before being restarted in August.

Speaking to The Lancet, Mohammedi said the decision to halt vaccinations had been “a precautionary measure” as they did not want to contribute towards the spread of COVID-19.

“We didn’t want to replace one virus with another,” he said.

In 2020, 56 polio cases were reported in Afghanistan; in 2019 the number was 29.

UNICEF however estimates that last year, about 50 million children in Afghanistan and Pakistan missed out on vaccines because of the disruption in immunisation due to the pandemic.

Abdul Quayum Pokhla, director of the Regional Emergency Operation Centre for polio in
Kandahar, meanwhile told The Lancet that “2020 was another bad year not just for the south, but for the whole country.”

He said: “The virus spread not just to endemic areas in Afghanistan, but to some free zones. We’ve missed so many children and it will lead to reduced immunity. We are expecting more cases – the virus is circulating in the environment.”

UNICEF states that since 2018, approximately one million children just in southern Afghanistan have missed out on polio vaccinations because of insecurity.

“When it comes to a rise in polio cases, does it make a difference to have 50 or 100 cases? It’s the same root causes,” Mohammedi said.

“We have issues with access and this lack of access has been underestimated by the polio programme. For more than two and a half years some areas have had no access [to vaccines] but the strategy is the same”.

He said “polio is not a priority except for people working for the programme. We have donors that have become massively passive. We need active donors. The UN talks about polio as
if it’s a priority, but it’s not at all. If it were a top priority, the game would change.

Latest News

Magnitude-6.5 earthquake shakes Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: March 21, 2023)

An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 shook Afghanistan at 9:17 pm local time on Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey (USGC) reported.

The quake happened at a depth of 187.6 kilometers and its epicenter was in Badakhshan province, according to USGC.

People in Kabul were seen leaving buildings as the earthquake struck.

Tremors were felt also in Pakistan and India.

There were no immediate reports of human casualties or property damage, if any.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Three-day expo held in Kabul to boost domestic products



(Last Updated On: March 21, 2023)

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) says a three-day expo titled “Premier Services of National Expo” was opened in Kabul on Tuesday in support of domestic products.

Female and male entrepreneurs showcased their products at this expo.

MoIC officials have said that in this new Solar Year, 1402, supporting domestic products is their priority and they are considering a plan that government institutions will have to purchase domestic products only.

The officials said they are still trying to attract investment and increase the country’s exports abroad.

“We are in contact with countries so that our products are marketed abroad and our products reach there,” said Qudratullah Jamal, deputy minister of industry and commerce.

“It is the duty of youth to once again work for greenery, reconstruction, economic development, technology and other sectors for the country,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the IEA.

In addition, the Ministry of Economy has also said that despite international sanctions and pressure, the IEA was able to control the economic situation to some extent.

According to this ministry, it will expand economic activities in the country in 1402.

“Not only did we act appropriately and decently in providing services, but we also maintained the price of goods and the price and value of services,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, deputy minister of economy.

At this expo, dozens of male and female entrepreneurs have displayed their products and asked people to support the domestic market.

“Again, women did not accept failure and more women are engaged in handicrafts,” said Yalda, a female entrepreneur.

The expo is open to visitors for three days, and several similar expos have been held in recent months in Kabul and in provinces around the country.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Over 50 instances of artifact smuggling prevented in last 18 months: officials



(Last Updated On: March 21, 2023)

More than 50 cases of smuggling of antiques have been prevented in the last 18 months, officials in the Ministry of Information and Culture said on Tuesday.

“More than 50 artifacts have been seized. We have put the artifacts on display. This is a great achievement. These artifacts were obtained from different areas and customs during the last year and a half,” said Zabihullah Sadat, head of the archeology department of the Ministry of Information and Culture.

Officials at the National Museum of Afghanistan said that they are committed to preserving antiques.

“The National Museum is a place where antiques are kept and preserved, and we are committed to preserving the antiques. The National Museum has also helped prevent smuggling of antiques,” said Mohammad Zubair Abedi, head of the National Museum.

In the latest case, 75 ancient coins were discovered in Baghlan province and handed over to the National Museum in Kabul.

The Department of Information and Culture of Baghlan said that these coins were obtained with the cooperation of local people of Jalga district.

“People’s cooperation in this regard is very necessary. Unless there is cooperation of people, no activity will be done properly. Alhamdulillah, here too, it was the cooperation of the people that we could seize this number of objects,” said Asadullah Mustafa Hashemi, the head of Baghlan Information and Culture Department.

More than 50,000 historical and cultural artifacts from different eras have been registered and put on display at the National Museum in Kabul.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2022 Ariana News. All rights reserved!