18 November 2018

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Sunday, September 02, 2018
Kabul (BNA The Government of Afghanistan, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have yesterday launched a nationwide vaccination campaign to protect children 13.8 million children aged 9 months to 10 years against measles.
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”. He also acknowledged the ongoing support of partners who are working with the Ministry of Public Health to improve the lives of children in Afghanistan.
Measles is one of the most contagious infections known to humans, and ranks among the top four childhood killers worldwide. In Afghanistan, of the 25,000 reported cases in 2017, 85 per cent are amongst children under the age of ten.  This spans over 20 of the 34 provinces across Afghanistan, with the worst affected provinces being Kabul, Paktika, Kunar, Badghis and Ghor
Speaking at the event, WHO Representative in Afghanistan Dr. Richard Peeperkorn said: “Safe and effective measles vaccine has been in use for the past 60 years worldwide and in Afghanistan since 1984…we hope that this campaign will reach every child, especially the most vulnerable target population.” Dr. Peeperkorn stressed the importance of routine immunization, which “remains the backbone of measles control efforts and contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”.
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 ten, 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 1-10th September targeting 16 provinces including the most affected, at risk and accessible provinces.  The second phase, from 17 -26 November will cover the remaining 18 provinces.
“Immunization has been proven as one of the most cost-effective and lifesaving interventions against killer childhood diseases. Every girl and boy must be reached no matter who they are and where they live,” says Adele Khodr, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan. “I call upon parents, caregivers, community leaders and all stakeholders to ensure that both girls and boys under the age of ten years can safely reach a mosque or village health facility, so we can together save the life lives of millions of children in Afghanistan.” Khodr emphasised
With the support of the GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the upcoming campaign will cost approximately US$ 14.6 million (5.6 m for vaccines and USD 9 million for operations) – to cover procurement of 14.8 million doses of vaccine, logistics, training, measles case management and activating social networks in communities to ensure local buy-in.
”I congratulate the government of Afghanistan for this landmark campaign,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi the Vaccine Alliance.
“Low vaccine coverage, mass population displacements and persistent insecurity have posed an immense challenge to measles control. Strengthening Afghanistan’s routine immunisation must be a top priority to secure further reductions in mortality from this vaccine-preventable disease.”
The Afghanistan Demographic Health Survey of 2015 estimates that only 60% of eligible Afghan children receive their first dose of measles vaccine every year while less than 40% receive the second dose. Low coverage has led to approximately 300 deaths from the disease last year. Routine vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns remain key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.
The Kabul Times

Saturday September 1, 2018

Kabul (BNA) Mass measles vaccine campaign has started in 17 provinces of the Afghanistan today.
It is supposed that 13.8 million children aged 9 months to 10 years will be received measles vaccinations.
Officials in public health ministry say, for the first time the campaign will be implemented in 17 provinces then will be implemented across the country.
It has been said, thousands children will be deprived from measles vaccinations due to presence and threat of terrorist groups in their areas.
Ministry of public health’s authorities asked from Taliban and other terrorist groups to allow implementing of measles vaccinations.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s officials demanded from families to implement measles vaccine for their children (9 months to 10 years).

Friday August 31, 2018 Kabul (BNA) India has assured Afghanistan of continued financial assistance for the treatment of Afghan children suffering from congenital heart disease as part of its massive humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country, it learnt. India has been providing annual financial assistance of one million dollars since 2015-16 to the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS). The third instalment of USD 1 million was disbursed to ARCS in August 2017. With this assistance, from August 2017 to July 2018, a total of 467 Afghan children, covering age group from as young as four months to 18 years have been treated at Artemis, Fortis, Max Hospital and other hospitals. Kabul is hopeful that many more needy Afghan children and their families would benefit from this assistance. India takes pride in being able to contribute towards the good health and well-being of Afghan children and people of the embattled country. India has played a major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime and has invested over $2 billion in various reconstruction and infrastructure projects. The construction of the major Salma Dam, the new Afghan parliament building, Zaranj-Delaram highway, and some other projects are among the key investments India has done so far in the country. India pledged a fresh aid package of $1 billion to support the reconstruction projects in Afghanistan during a visit by Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to New Delhi in late 2016. Thestatesman Ansari

Tuesday August 28, 2018
Kabul (BNA) Japan has responded to an urgent call for scaling up maternal and child health action in Afghanistan with new assistance to UNICEF of $8.1 million.
The grant is a part of the overall support for the wellbeing of mothers and children, with focus on health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, through the scale-up of the system as part of the Basic Primary Health Service (BPHS) across all 34 provinces. A grant-signing ceremony was held today at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul between Ambassador Mitsuji Suzuka and UNICEF representative Adele Khodr. Minister of Public Health Ferozudin Feroz was also in attendance.
“I would like to thank the government and people of Japan for supporting the Ministry of Public Health in scaling up this important project. I would like to thank UNICEF, our trusted partner…” the minister added.
Since January 2016, the Ministry of Public Health, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNICEF, the WHO and other partners have been working together to develop Afghanistan’s first ever integrated home-based and hand-held personal record of maternal and child health and nutrition.
A prototype of the Afghanistan Maternal and Child Health Handbook (MCHHB) was developed last year and piloted in Kama and Mirbachakot districts. The Ministry of Public Health is now ready to scale up implementation of the MCHHB across all 34 provinces. The contribution will target 5.2 million beneficiaries – 2.1 million pregnant women and 3.1 million children under two years of age – and their respective families. Adele Khodr said: “UNICEF values the partnership with the government of Japan and the sustained support to children in need, especially within a protracted context such as Afghanistan. “Continued investment in Afghanistan’s children, especially the most vulnerable is a key building block for the future stability and development of this country,” she stressed. Ambassador Suzuka remarked: “One aspect of Japan’s development policy is promotion of improvement of the public health system, especially for women. This system continues for more than 70 years in Japan and has now been expanded in many parts of the world. “This handbook is a collection of information that highlights the health of children. The mothers become happy whenever looks at the handbook and see the healthy growth of their children at growing stage and afterwards. Now it’s time for Afghanistan to be distributed through their relevant authorities. “Although, it is important, of course, the distribution of the handbook itself does not guarantee the health of the mothers and healthy growth of the children. It is essential to have a good public health network, access to health facilities and the cooperation of public health personnel. I hope that the handbook will be used better in Afghanistan and further developed.”

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