A nationwide measles vaccination campaign was launched this weekend in Afghanistan to protect 13.8 million children aged 9 months to 10 years against measles.
This is a collaborative effort of The Government of Afghanistan, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
At the launching ceremony, Afghan Minister of Public Health, H.E. Dr Ferozuddin Feroz, described this intervention as “life-saving and will have positive impact on child health”.
Measles is one of the most contagious infections known to humans, and ranks among the top 4 childhood killers worldwide. In Afghanistan, of the 25,000 reported cases in 2017, 85% are among children under the age of 10. This spans over 20 of the 34 provinces across Afghanistan, with the worst affected provinces being Kabul, Paktika, Kunar, Badghis and Ghor.
The measles vaccine will be administered free of charge in all mosques, villages and health facilities throughout the country, targeting all children under the age of 10, irrespective of their previous measles vaccination status or history of disease. This campaign will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will run from 1 to 10 September targeting 16 provinces, including the most affected, at risk and accessible provinces. The second phase, from 17 to 26 November will cover the remaining 18 provinces.
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