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Polio vaccine campaign rolled out in western parts of Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 7, 2021)

A Polio vaccination drive, started in western provinces of Afghanistan, is aimed at inoculating more than 1.3 million children, health officials said Sunday.

Mohammad Asif Kabir, Deputy Health Director of Herat, stated: “This is a strategic campaign as not all people have access to health centers. We can manage to implement the campaign for the eradication of Polio at more than 90 percent of the areas in the province [Herat], Zone [Western Parts of Afghanistan] and across the country.”

Health officials added that vitamin A supplements will also be given to more than 1.1 million children during the campaign.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that a nationwide polio vaccination campaign will be launched on Monday.

“Vaccinate your children against polio and protect their future!” UNICEF tweeted.

This comes after a polio virus case was registered in Ghazni this year and as many as 45 mutated strains of the virus have been registered across Afghanistan in recent years, World Health Organization country officials stated.

“We have registered five mutated type-2 variants in Herat, 17 cases in western parts of the country, and 45 cases across Afghanistan,” said Ahmad Shah Ahmadi, UNICEF Communication for Development Officer in Herat.

Ismail Seddiqi, Regional Polio Officer of WHO, stated: “The only way to eliminate [the Poliovirus] is to inoculate children under age five.”

Officials added that 10,500 people including volunteers are assisting to implement the campaign in four provinces in western parts of Afghanistan.

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EU signs deal with Bavarian Nordic for delivery of monkeypox vaccine

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(Last Updated On: June 15, 2022)

The European Commission on Tuesday said it had signed a deal with Danish biotech firm Bavarian Nordic (BAVA.CO) for the delivery of around 110,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine.

The agreement marks the first time that the EU budget is used for the direct purchase of vaccines and would make the shots rapidly available to all EU member states, Norway and Iceland, the commission said.

Around 900 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 19 EU countries, Norway and Iceland since May 18.

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Research finds ‘alarming’ levels of chemicals in male urine samples

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(Last Updated On: June 13, 2022)

A study of urine samples from nearly 100 male volunteers has uncovered “alarming” levels of endocrine disruptors known to reduce human fertility.

Cocktails of chemicals such as bisphenols and dioxins, which are believed to interfere with hormones and affect sperm quality, were present at levels up to 100 times those considered safe, scientists have found.

The median exposure to these chemicals was 17 times the levels deemed acceptable.

“Our mixture risk assessment of chemicals which affect male reproductive health reveals alarming exceedances of acceptable combined exposures,” wrote the authors of the study, published on Thursday in the journal Environment International.

The study measured nine chemicals, including bisphenol, phthalates and paracetamol, in urine samples from 98 Danish men aged 18 to 30.

The study authors, led by Professor Andreas Kortenkamp of Brunel University London, said they were “astonished” by the magnitude of this hazard index in the volunteers studied, Euronews reported.

Sperm quantity and quality have dramatically declined across Western countries in recent decades, with research suggesting sperm counts have been more than halved in the space of 40 years.

Meanwhile, other reproductive health disorders have been on the rise, such as non-descending testes and testicular cancer.

Scientists around the world have considered a range of other possible causes behind falling sperm counts, including lifestyle factors, tobacco consumption and air pollution.

But recent studies have increasingly zeroed in on the role played by chemicals, Euronews reported.

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Health ministry records massive spike in malnourished patients

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(Last Updated On: June 7, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) public health ministry said 820,000 people, including mothers and children, have sought treatment for malnutrition so far this year.

According to a video message by Javid Hajir, a spokesman for the ministry, 570,000 of them were children under the age of five.

Hajir added that during this period, about 381,000 cases of severe malnutrition and 189,000 cases of moderate malnutrition have been registered throughout the country.

He said their survey showed that 3.8 million children under the age of five were currently suffering from malnutrition in Afghanistan, of which about 1 million had severe malnutrition and about 2.8 million of these children suffer from moderate malnutrition.

According to a VOA report, the public health ministry said more than 360 malnourished children had died in Afghanistan since the beginning of the year.

There are currently more than 2,400 health centers across Afghanistan for the treatment of malnourished patients.

“Also, 120 of our central, provincial and district hospitals have been set up to provide inpatient services to these patients. At present, 12,400 inpatients are currently with us,” Hajir said.

Two days ago, a senior official of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Afghanistan expressed concern that with each passing day, the incidence of malnutrition among children in the country is increasing.

Mohamed Ag Ayoya, from UNICEF Afghanistan, tweeted that he and a director of the fund had visited a number of hospitals in Kabul and Parwan province to review the treatment of malnourished children.

Ayoya added that they have seen children dying in these hospitals.

A day earlier, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that 1.1 million children in Afghanistan were facing the most severe forms of acute malnutrition.

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