Polio vaccination campaign targets 6.4 million children across 23 provinces in Afghanistan

The Taliban’s Ministry of Public Health has announced that it has began a three-day polio vaccination campaign across 23 provinces, covering 217 districts.

According to the group, the campaign will immunise 6.4 million children under five.

The campaign comes after the recent diagnosis of a four-year-old with the wild poliovirus in the eastern Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province.

Since the return of the Taliban in August 2021, there have been at least six cases of wild poliovirus in Afghanistan.

The first case was recorded in Ghazni province in 2021, followed by cases in Kunduz, Kunar, and Paktia provinces. In 2020, there were 56 cases of wild poliovirus reported in Afghanistan, the most in recent years. This was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted immunisation programmes across the country.

According to WHO’s Global Eradication Initiative, polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan.