January 2023: Afghanistan launches first polio vaccination drive of the year

Afghanistan launched its first polio vaccination drive of the year on January 23. The four-day campaign aimed to reach more than 5.3 million children under age 5 in 16 provinces and in the capital, Kabul. A December 2022 decree from the Taliban-run government that bars women from working for NGOs is likely to impede campaign success: in the global fight to eradicate polio, women have historically played crucial roles in raising awareness and vaccinating children. In several southern provinces—including Zabul, Helmand and Uruzgan—the anti-polio campaign is being carried out with only male vaccinators. The ministry of public health, however, said that there was no ban on women working in healthcare services and that female volunteers can take part in the vaccination campaign. Xinhua; Amu

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