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House-to-house polio vaccination campaign to recommence across Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

A nation-wide polio vaccination campaign will resume in Afghanistan next month, UNICEF announced Monday.

In a statement issued by the organization, the World Health Organization and UNICEF welcomed the decision by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leadership supporting the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination campaign.

The vaccination campaign, which begins on November 8, will be the first in over three years to reach all children in Afghanistan, including more than 3.3 million children in some parts of the country who have previously remained inaccessible to vaccination campaigns.

“This is an extremely important step in the right direction,” said Dapeng Luo, WHO Representative in Afghanistan.

“We know that multiple doses of oral polio vaccine offer the best protection, so we are pleased to see that there is another campaign planned before the end of this year. Sustained access to all children is essential to end polio for good. This must remain a top priority,” he said.

With only one case of wild poliovirus reported so far in 2021, Afghanistan has an extraordinary opportunity to eradicate polio. Restarting polio vaccination now is crucial for preventing any significant resurgence of polio within the country and mitigating the risk of cross-border and international transmission.

“This decision will allow us to make a giant stride in the efforts to eradicate polio,” said Hervé Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.

“To eliminate polio completely, every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated, and with our partners, this is what we are setting out to do,” he said.

The polio programme has started preparations to rapidly implement the nationwide vaccination campaign, which is a result of ongoing high-level dialogue between the UN and the IEA leadership to swiftly and urgently meet the health needs of the people in Afghanistan.

“This is not only a win for Afghanistan but also a win for the region as it opens a real path to achieve wild poliovirus eradication,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

In addition to this, UNICEF reported that as the overall health system in Afghanistan remains vulnerable, all parties have agreed to immediately start measles and COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in order to mitigate against the risk of a rise in diseases and deaths.

This will be complemented with the support of the polio eradication programme and with outreach activities that will urgently begin to deliver other life-saving vaccinations through the national expanded programme for immunization, UNICEF reported.

While the safety and security of health workers remains a prime concern for the polio programme, the IEA leadership has expressed their commitment for the inclusion of female frontline workers and for providing security and assuring the safety of all health workers across the country.

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Bayat Foundation provides aid packages to flood victims in Takhar 

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(Last Updated On: June 30, 2022)

In ongoing efforts to help at-risk Afghans, the Bayat Foundation this week provided life-saving aid packages to flood-hit families in Mawara-ye Kokcha area in Takhar province. 

Bayat Foundation officials in the northeastern part of the country said Thursday that the aid packages, including flour, rice and oil, were distributed to needy families after a survey was conducted.

The flood victims welcomed the shipment of aid from Bayat Foundation, and called on other organizations and businessmen to help them as soon as possible.

Two people were killed in the recent floods in six districts of Takhar, while hundreds of houses and thousands of acres of land were destroyed and hundreds of livestock lost.

Bayat Foundation is one of the largest charitable organizations in the country, and continuously helps victims of natural disasters.

Last week, Bayat Foundation also sent three consignments of aid to Paktika and Khost provinces. The aid was distributed to quake-hit victims. Foundation officials say they are determined to provide more assistance to needy families across the country.

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Issue of girls’ education raised at gathering of religious scholars in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: June 30, 2022)

At least one participant at a major gathering of religious scholars in Kabul on Thursday called for secondary schools for girls to reopen.

“They will learn and will be a good guide for their children in society,” said Sayed Nasrullah Waizi, from central Bamiyan province, as he called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to reopen girls’ schools.

He said that education will help prevent moral and administrative corruption.

IEA’s Acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund meanwhile said in his speech at the gathering that the meeting was aimed at addressing challenges and strengthening the administration.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is trying to solve all problems … this government has been reached after a lot of sacrifice, we should work together to strengthen it,” Akhund said.

Around 3,500 religious scholars and tribal leaders are at the event which is expected to run for three days.

It comes as Afghanistan is in a deep economic crisis as billions in central bank reserves have been frozen and international sanctions enforced on the banking sector after the IEA seized power.

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Pakistan-administered Kashmir gives 100 million rupees for Afghan quake victims

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(Last Updated On: June 30, 2022)

Prime minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir has approved 100 million rupees ($484,000) for last week’s earthquake victims in Afghanistan, it was reported Thursday.

Kashmir’s cabinet and top bureaucracy also donated one month’s salary for the relief of the people of Afghanistan, Pakistani newspaper The News reported.

Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, the prime minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, said that the people of Pakistan and Kashmir are saddened by the loss of life and property caused by the recent earthquake in Afghanistan.

He said, in this hour of sorrow, the people of Pakistan and Kashmir stand with their brothers.

He said that a delegation representing the government of Kashmir will go to Afghanistan to deliver aid.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan’s eastern provinces of Paktika and Khost on June 22. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.

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