WHO, UNICEF to launch polio vaccine drive in Afghanistan
The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch a house-to-house vaccination campaign to inoculate children in Afghanistan against polio, the UN announced Monday.
Why it matters: The campaign, which begins Nov. 8 with the Taliban's backing, is the first such vaccine drive in over three years to reach all Afghan children, the press release noted.
- Afghanistan reported only one case of wild poliovirus last year and the vaccine drive also presents an opportunity to totally eradicate the illness from the country.
State of play: "WHO and UNICEF welcome the decision by the Taliban leadership supporting the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination across Afghanistan," UNICEF said in a statement.
- The campaign will also reach more than 3.3 million children in parts of Afghanistan that have previously been inaccessible to vaccination campaigns, according to UNICEF.
- Babies aged 6 months to 59 months will also receive supplementary doses of vitamin A, per the WHO.
- The Taliban has also authorized a second polio vaccination campaign, to take place in conjunction with Pakistan's national immunization drive in December.
The big picture: In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover, Afghanistan is on the precipice of a humanitarian crisis.