South Asia

Kabul accepts Delhi’s aid on polio drive

A delegation from Afghanistan will be in India in February to learn from the Indian experience. File photo   | Photo Credit: Anja Niedringhaus

India’s offer to share its expertise on polio eradication has been accepted by Afghanistan, but Pakistan, which is also polio-endemic is yet to communicate its decision.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry had forwarded a proposal to both the countries, through the Ministry of External Affairs, offering to share best practices that have helped India remain polio free since January 2011.

A delegation from Afghanistan will be in India in February to learn from the Indian experience, but Pakistan has so far maintained silence on whether it wants to take up the offer, a senior official of the Health Ministry told The Hindu.

The Ministry had forwarded the polio eradication plan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an offer to support medical surveillance of polio-free countries, and provide vaccines where it might reappear during the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu this past November.

“India has been polio free since 2011, and in the past as well we have offered our help to the neighbouring nations, as the polio virus can easily transmit through contaminated water and faeces,” said the official.

With three new cases of polio detected in Pakistan this past week, taking the total to six this year, India is on the alert again. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also cautioned against the spread of the virus from Pakistan. In 2014, the WHO confirmed that polio virus from Pakistan had spread to Israel, West Bank and Gaza.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 8:24:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/kabul-accepts-delhis-aid-on-polio-drive/article6845651.ece

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