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Sun, Jun

Spread Of Polio To End By Mid-2016: Official

Health
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polio-vaccinationAfghanistan's Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on Monday it hopes to eradicate polio by the middle of next year as 2015 has seen the lowest number of reported cases to date.

This comes after a scare on Sunday where health officials suspected 75 cases of the virus in Helmand. However the children thought to have contracted the disease were tested and results came back as negative, officials confirmed Monday.

But this year, 17 polio cases have been registered - a major decline against last year's recordings of 38, said Hedayatollah Stanikzai, an advisor to the ministry of public health.

This decline shows the polio immunization campaigns being conducted in the country are starting to show results.

The Ministry of Public Health has said that concerted efforts have been made to control the spread of virus in the country, adding that Afghanistan will hopefully be a polio free country within four years.

But Stanikzai was a little more positive and said: "God willing, we will overcome the spread of the polio virus in the country by June 2016 and this is a national commitment," Stanikzai said.

However, blood tests of suspected patients are sent to Pakistan laboratories for testing. Health officials want this changed.

"We send lab samples to Pakistan, but now we are concerned, we made a request to World Health Organization to send the samples to another country," he said.

The statement comes a day before the launch of a major polio immunization campaign in south and western provinces. The ministry of health says that children under the age of five will also be vaccinated against polio in insecure regions.

"We do not have concerns that some children could be deprived of vaccination, we are determined to vaccinate them all," head of Helmand health department Abdul Ahad Hazeem said.

Statistics of ministry of public health reveals that eight polio cases in Nangarhar, one in Helmand, one in Herat, four in Farah, one in Nimroz and one in Faryab were recorded this year.