The Public Health Ministry under the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan on Monday announced that it has launched a campaign to administer polio vaccination doses to more than 9.9 million of children under the age of five.
"The campaign is the last polio vaccination drive in 2021. It will continue in two weeks. This week it will cover 21 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
"The next drive will cover 13 provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, Zabul, Uruzgan, Nangarhar, Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Ghazni, Paktika, Balkh, and Ghor," the Ministry said in a statement.
Technically and financially supported by the Unicef and the World Health Organization (WHO), the campaign will cover 9.9 million Afghan children, the statement said.
For the first time since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August, the Unicef had launched a nationwide polio vaccination drive targeting 3.3 million children on November 8.
In the years after the Taliban was overthrown in 2001 by a US-led coalition, vaccination campaigns had made much progress in the country.
However, as the Taliban made inroads again, door-to-door visits by polio workers had been banned in Afghanistan, for three years now.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two remaining polio endemic countries in the world.
According to a Nature report, polio cases tripled in the country between 2018 and 2020.
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