Afghan women listen to a lecture on health (file photo) (epa)
March 5, 2006 – Afghanistan, one of only four countries where polio is still endemic, has begun vaccinating millions of children.
Officials say tens of thousands of health workers and volunteers across the country today began a three-day campaign expected to result in the immunization of more than 7.2 million children under the age of five.
According to the World Health Organization, polio is also endemic in Nigeria, India, and Pakistan.
The number of polio cases in Afghanistan increased from five in 2004 to seven last year, although they were localized to the provinces of Helmand and Oruzgan.
A health ministry advisor, Abdullah Fahim, said the reasons the disease was lingering in these areas included the influx of people from neighboring Pakistan and violence that has hampered immunization programs in past years.