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New York declares disaster emergency after polio detected in several counties

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(Last Updated On: September 10, 2022)

New York’s governor, Kathy Hochul, declared a disaster emergency on Friday and said the state was stepping up its polio-fighting efforts after the virus was detected in the wastewater of yet another county in the New York City area.

Health officials began checking for signs of the virus in sewage water after the first case of polio in the US in nearly a decade was identified in July in Rockland county, close to the city, Associated Press reported.

The latest detection involved a wastewater sample collected last month in Nassau county on Long Island.

The polio virus had previously been detected in wastewater in New York City and three counties to its north: Rockland, Orange and Sullivan.

Hochul declared a state disaster emergency that allows Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers, midwives and pharmacists to administer polio vaccines and allows doctors to issue standing orders for the vaccine.

“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” the state health commissioner, Mary Bassett, said. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”’

The statewide polio vaccination rate is 79%, but the counties of Rockland, Orange and Sullivan had lower rates.

Officials have said that it is possible that hundreds of people in the state have gotten polio and don’t know it. Most people infected with polio have no symptoms but can still give the virus to others for days or weeks.

The lone confirmed case in New York involved an unidentified adult who was unvaccinated.

Health

Polio vaccination campaign underway in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 26, 2024)

The Ministry of Public Health, in cooperation with international institutions, on Monday launched the second sub-national polio vaccination campaign for 2024.

The campaign runs in different parts of the country from 26 to 29 February 2024, and aims to reach 7.6 million children below the age of five.

“We are committed to eradicating polio in Afghanistan with the cooperation of our partners. We are working day and night and continue supplementary polio vaccination campaigns and health care services in order to reach the goal of completely eradicating polio throughout the country,” Acting Public Health Minister Qalandar Ebad said.

“The support of all Afghans, especially elders and religious scholars, is important in polio eradication activities. It is necessary for them to participate in the fight against polio and keep their children healthy,” he added.

Polio is a viral disease that cannot be cured and can only be prevented and eradicated by vaccination.

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Health

Over 286,000 afflicted with respiratory diseases since winter across Afghanistan: WHO

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that since the beginning of 2024, more than 286,000 individuals have been afflicted with respiratory diseases across Afghanistan, among whom 668 have lost their lives.

On Saturday, the organization reported hundreds of deaths and infections due to respiratory illnesses across the country, coinciding with the onset of winter.

According to WHO, the increase in the number of individuals afflicted with respiratory diseases is due to cold weather conditions, affecting mostly children.

Based on the organization’s report, over 63 percent of the patients are children under five years old, with nearly 50 percent of them being women.

Earlier, WHO emphasized in a report that the average recorded statistics of respiratory illnesses in the country have increased compared to the same period in the years 2020 to 2022.

With the arrival of the cold season and increased air pollution, concerns regarding the spread of respiratory illnesses in the country have intensified.

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Health

Ebad discusses healthcare with UN agency

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(Last Updated On: February 14, 2024)

Acting health minister Qalandar Ebad, met Tuesday with the representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Afghanistan for discussions on bolstering the country’s healthcare infrastructure.

The meeting underscored collaborative efforts aimed at improving facilities, particularly through the refurbishment of health centers, enhancing mobile healthcare units, fostering greater coordination, providing technical assistance to health departments, and addressing other pertinent issues, a statement from the ministry read.

Ebad underscored the need for enhanced healthcare provision and the augmentation of public access to health services as being of paramount importance.

He expressed a steadfast commitment to elevating the caliber of health services in conjunction with health partners in the country.

Echoing the sentiments, the United Nations Population Fund representative reaffirmed the organization’s dedication to sustained collaboration in the healthcare domain.

Assuring ongoing support to the Ministry of Public Health, the representative pledged continued cooperation while acknowledging the prevailing constraints and opportunities.

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