3 day Sub-National Immunization Days for Polio Eradication

Dr Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatimie opens a 3 day Sub-National Immunization Days for Polio Eradication in 15 provinces of Afghanistan

Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Afghanistan

April 12, 2009

20,081 staff of MoPH and volunteers will drop polio vaccines to the mouth of 2.99 million under 5 year age children in 15 provinces of the country, namely; Kunar, Nangarhar, Laghman, Nuristan, Khost, Ghazni, Paktia, Paktika, Zabul, Kandahar, Helmand, Nimruz, Urozgan, Farah and Badghis. This is a huge operation which covers all villages and provides a unique opportunity to Afghan families to get their children vaccinated against Polio and be in contact with the health workers said Dr. S. M. Amin Fatimie, Minister of Public Health of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We request all Afghans, health workers and health partners to provide any kind of help and support to this process so that all target children could get vaccinated in the coming 3 days he added.

What is polio?

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. The virus enters the body through mouth and multiplies in the intestines and then it invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, and stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. There are certain key facts about polio for example there is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life; poliovirus can travel from village to village and from country to country through un-immunized children, one un-immunized child can leave tens or hundreds more paralyzed for life. Children everywhere are at risk of infection.

High population density, bad environmental sanitation, bad personal hygiene, low routine EPI coverage, bad SIAs coverage, high population movement and hidden inaccessible communities are the factors that can sustain polio virus circulation.

Poliovirus is spread by the fecal-oral route, which, despite its unsavory name is a common route of microbial infection. The virus can be isolated from human feces and sewage. In areas where raw sewage enters a watershed without treatment, polio can be found in rivers, lakes and streams. When a susceptible person drinks water from one of these sources (possibly from the kitchen tap when local water supplies are not treated properly), the virus enters his/her digestive tract. 

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