15th polio case confirmed in Afghanistan

Kabul, 26 September 2018 – Another new polio case has been reported in Kandahar province. A 24-month-old child from Kandahar city will be permanently paralyzed by the virus. This is the 15th case in Afghanistan and the 9th polio case in the southern region.

The Minister of Public Health Dr Ferozuddin Feroz expressed concern that Afghanistan now has the highest number of polio cases in the world: “We now have more polio cases than last year. This is serious. Yet another young boy has been needlessly paralysed by polio.  This should never have happened. We are particularly concerned about the spread of the virus in Kandahar and stress that all parents and caregivers must repeatedly vaccinate all their children under five. Polio is serious and has lifelong consequences, but the virus can be eliminated from our country.”

 Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure and the polio vaccine is the only safe and effective way to protect children. All children should be vaccinated against polio during each campaign, until they reach the age of five. House-to-house vaccination is the only way to achieve polio eradication because it means every child has access to vaccination. This strategy has been implemented in all countries, and has proven efficacy.

Parents must vaccinate their children to save and protect them from paralysis. If any child gets polio because they have not taken the vaccine, then the parents are committing a great sin and injustice as vaccination and good health is the right of every child, “says Said Mawlawi Ehsanullah, an Islamic Scholar in Kandahar.

The polio vaccine is safe, even for sick and newborn children. It is very important these children get the vaccine, because they have low immunity which makes them more susceptible to the virus. Polio vaccination has also been strongly endorsed by national and global Islamic scholars.

Currently, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the only three remaining polio-endemic countries in the world.