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‘Lack of female campaigners hinders anti-polio campaign in Nangarhar’

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By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: Though atni-polio campaign is underway in eastern Nangarhar province in full swing, residents of the province terms lack of female campaigners as an obstacle before implementation of home to home campaign.

They said that female campaigners can play an effective role in raising public awareness regarding the importance of polio vaccination.

Malalai Shinwari, a former MP from the province, stressed on public awareness campaign in fight against the crippling disease and said that conducting a successful campaign is not possible without contribution of women. She said that due to lack of women’s contribution to the anti-polio campaign, most of the families in the province are unaware of importance of polio vaccination.

Gulsom, a resident of the province said that criticized the slow pace of the polio vaccination drive and said that anti polio drive of the provincial directorate of public health and other concerned organizations are focused on urban areas. She said that the organizations are yet to conduct such campaigns in remote areas and internally displaced people (IDP) camps.

She urged the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to extend their campaign to remote areas, where illiteracy is widespread and children are more prone to the crippling disease.

Yar Muhammad, a tribal elder, said that health care workers usually launch polio vaccination derive before conducting an awareness campaign regarding the disease and importance of the polio drops.

Public Health Director of Nangarhar province, Qudratullah Shakib, said that they give preference to female campaigners over male campaigners in anti-polio drives. “We have trained some 300 women and female school teachers to raise public awareness,” he added

Public health officials said that if positive case of polio emerges in an area, all under five-year old children should be vaccinated.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours.