Another new polio case has been reported in Helmand province

Kabul, 13 October 2018 – Another new polio case has been reported in Helmand province. A 48-month-old male child from Nawzad district of Helmand province is paralyzed by the polio wild virus. This is the 11th polio case in the southern region and 16th case in Afghanistan (8 cases in Kandahar, 2 cases in Helmand, 1 case in Uruzgan, 3 cases in Kunar and 2 cases in Nangarhar provinces).

The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, expressed his deep 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 paralyzed by polio.  This should never have happened. We are particularly concerned about the spread of the virus in Helmand and stress that all parents and caregivers must repeatedly vaccinate their all children under five. Polio is serious and has lifelong consequences, but the virus can be eradicated 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 effective 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.

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.