World

Taliban bars house-to-house polio vaccinations in 19 provinces, gives reason

A nationwide polio vaccination drive scheduled for Monday across Afghanistan is only taking place in 15 of the country’s 34 provinces.

The Taliban-led government said the remaining 19 were too unsafe for the vaccinators to go door-to-door as planned.

The Health Ministry’s polio coordinator, Naik Wali Shah Momin, told dpa that in those 19 provinces the vaccine would be given out at mosques instead, starting next Monday.

Another health official who asked not to be named said the Taliban have security concerns in those provinces, especially in the east, because they have seen deadly attacks on vaccinators in the past.

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Still, the vaccination campaign led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations children’s agency were able to begin going from door to door as planned in 15 provinces.

Last month, the WHO and UNICEF said they received the Taliban’s green light to resume a nationwide house-to-house polio vaccination in November, after a three-year pause.

Afghanistan and Pakistan were among only a few countries in the world where polio was still endemic.

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