Polio immunization drive for Afghan children faced no major problems, UNICEF says

9 November 2001

A three-day polio immunization campaign in Afghanistan has concluded with no major problems reported, according to a spokesman for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which helped to lead the effort.

"Between this past Tuesday and Thursday, health authorities in both countries, helped by a network of thousands of trained volunteers and the support of UNICEF and the WHO [World Health Organization], worked to immunize millions of children against the wild polio virus," spokesman Chulho Hyun told reporters in Islamabad today.

He said that in Afghanistan, the immunization of a planned 5.4 million children had proceeded without major disruptions, although there were difficulties in accessing two districts in the Mazar area. "Similarly, no major problems have been reported in Pakistan, where health officials were planning to reach some 30 million children."

While it is too soon to assess the level of coverage, the spokesman said the campaign had already proved significant. "It reflects the commitment to polio eradication activities by Afghan health authorities and indeed the Afghan people, following through on this long-standing public health initiative," he said.

 

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