A mother has abandoned her four-year-old baby girl in the Indira Gandhi Children’s hospital in Kabul and disappeared without a trace since two days, doctors said on Wednesday.
According to the doctors, the mother of the paralyzed child has left her in the hospital after founding that she is not curable.
The doctors are calling the baby girl as Muska, a Muslim girl name which means smile in Urdu language.
Hospital sources said that Muska’s mother left her in the corridor of the hospital while pretending that she is buying some medicines from an outside pharmacy.
Doctors said that several similar incidents have taken place in the hospital.
“We have a conservative society, most of [the women] who give birth to a child as a result of illegitimate relationship or if the family have a poor economy and can’t look after their child, they leave their children in the hospital,” said Ali Panah, an official in the Indira Gandhi hospital.
Najib Azizi, another doctor in the hospital said that this is the third incident happening in the hospital.
“We took a similar child under treatment for a long-time. No one came to the hospital to take the child. Finally, we took the child to the orphanage,” he said.
“How can a mother abandon such a poor child in the hospital? What type of a human being you are?” criticized a staff member of the hospital.
Afghanistan is one of the three countries in the world where the polio virus is still endemic, in addition to Pakistan and Nigeria. According to the World Health Organization, this year at least 16 children have contracted the disease that destroys the cells of the central nervous system, causing paralysis.
WHO, UNICEF launch Afghan polio vaccine campaign with IEA backing
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations children’s agency launched a polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan on Monday, the first nationwide campaign to fight the disease in three years.
Naikwali Shah Momim, the National Emergency Operations Coordinator for the polio program at Afghanistan’s health ministry, told Reuters the campaign had started in various parts of the country on Monday, but added there were several hurdles around a shortage of trained staff.
“We have not received the polio medicines on time, and most of the families refuse to vaccinate their kids because there are some rumors that this polio vaccine may harm their children. These are the issues we are facing,” said Hassibullah Qaderi, who is working with the polio vaccine campaign.
The campaign, which aims to reach over 3 million children, had received Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) backing, which would allow teams to reach children in previously inaccessible parts of the country, the WHO said.
Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan are the last countries in the world with endemic polio, an incurable and highly infectious disease transmitted through sewage that can cause crippling paralysis in young children.
Polio has been virtually eliminated globally through a decades-long inoculation drive. But insecurity, inaccessible terrain, mass displacement and suspicion of outside interference have hampered mass vaccination in Afghanistan and some areas of Pakistan.
Several polio workers have been killed by gunmen in eastern Afghanistan this year, though it was not clear who was behind the attacks.
According to WHO figures compiled before the collapse of the Western-backed government in August, there was one reported case of the one wild poliovirus type 1 in Afghanistan in 2021, compared with 56 in 2020.
Until the disease is eliminated completely, it remains a threat to human health in all countries, especially those with vulnerable health systems because of the risk of importing the disease, according to health experts.
New shipment of WHO life-saving medical supplies lands in Kabul
An aircraft carrying around 7 metric tonnes of life-saving medicines and supplies from the World Health Organization landed in Kabul last week, the organization confirmed Monday.
According to a statement issued by the organization, the shipment was delivered in collaboration with the operations and logistic teams of Qatar Airways and the government of Qatar.
This is the fourth flight carrying WHO supplies to arrive in Afghanistan from Doha since 30 August 2021.
The supplies include medicines for the treatment of 5,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, diarrhoea, pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, and other conditions.
“Health needs in Afghanistan are greater than ever before, and we are moving quickly to address shortages in medical supplies to keep life-saving health services running. Children are the tragic victims of the country’s failing health system,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
He also expressed the organization’s gratitude to Qatar for their help in delivering the supplies.
“This show of ongoing solidarity is a concrete demonstration of our regional vision in action: health for all people, with the support all people,” said Al-Mandhari.
Since 30 August, 4 flights from Qatar to Afghanistan have delivered a total of 60 metric tonnes of WHO supplies, which are enough to cover the urgent health needs of almost 1.5 million people.
Polio vaccine campaign rolled out in western parts of Afghanistan
A Polio vaccination drive, started in western provinces of Afghanistan, is aimed at inoculating more than 1.3 million children, health officials said Sunday.
Mohammad Asif Kabir, Deputy Health Director of Herat, stated: “This is a strategic campaign as not all people have access to health centers. We can manage to implement the campaign for the eradication of Polio at more than 90 percent of the areas in the province [Herat], Zone [Western Parts of Afghanistan] and across the country.”
Health officials added that vitamin A supplements will also be given to more than 1.1 million children during the campaign.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that a nationwide polio vaccination campaign will be launched on Monday.
“Vaccinate your children against polio and protect their future!” UNICEF tweeted.
This comes after a polio virus case was registered in Ghazni this year and as many as 45 mutated strains of the virus have been registered across Afghanistan in recent years, World Health Organization country officials stated.
“We have registered five mutated type-2 variants in Herat, 17 cases in western parts of the country, and 45 cases across Afghanistan,” said Ahmad Shah Ahmadi, UNICEF Communication for Development Officer in Herat.
Ismail Seddiqi, Regional Polio Officer of WHO, stated: “The only way to eliminate [the Poliovirus] is to inoculate children under age five.”
Officials added that 10,500 people including volunteers are assisting to implement the campaign in four provinces in western parts of Afghanistan.
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