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Where vaccination campaigns face skepticism, war and corruption

Kabul, Afghanistan — Citizens have wiped out most of the coronavirus pandemics as exaggerated or complete hoaxes Afghanistan is now preparing to distribute the first batch of vaccines.

500,000 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured by an Indian manufacturer were delivered by India to the capital Kabul on February 7. However, the arrival was indifferently greeted by many Afghans. Rejected government warning The virus is a deadly public health threat.

The cheap and easy-to-store AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is offered as part of the Covax program, a global initiative to purchase vaccines and distribute them to poor countries for free or at low cost. On February 15, the World Health Organization approved the use of the vaccine. This required two vaccinations per person, paving the way for Afghanistan to launch a vaccination campaign.

Global trials have shown that vaccines provide complete protection against severe illness and death. However, its efficacy against the first viral variant seen in South Africa has been questioned after the vaccine failed in a small trial to prevent study participants from becoming mild or moderate Covid cases. I am.

Vaccines arrive when Afghanistan is fighting the second deadly wave, even though most Afghans live their daily lives It’s as if the virus didn’t exist. Many people refuse to wear masks, gather in crowded crowds in bazaars, supermarkets, restaurants and mosques, and are unaware of public health posters everywhere.

In poor countries that have been hit by war, hunger, poverty and drought, invisible viruses are considered fake or retrofit.

“Of course, I don’t believe in the coronavirus, so I won’t vaccinate,” said Muhibra Armani, 30, a taxi driver in the southern city of Kandahar.

Armani expressed the feelings shared by many Afghans, adding that “the fear of Covid makes them laugh when they see people covering their mouths and noses.”

And even among Afghans who believe that the virus is genuine and wants to be vaccinated, there is little belief that a government suffering from widespread corruption will evenly distribute a limited vaccine supply.

“This vaccine will only be available to high-ranking people,” said Karil Jan Grubazwar, a civil society activist in Khost, eastern Afghanistan.

Nizamdin, a tribal elder in the Taliban-controlled district of Faryab in northern Afghanistan, said he was concerned that the vaccine could be diverted by closely related politicians and warlords.

“In Afghanistan, even food aid is commonly stolen by corrupt people,” says Nizamdin, a favorite of many Afghans.

The Attorney General’s office said Thursday that 74 government officials from five states were charged with embezzlement of coronavirus response funds. It was the former governor and vice-governor who were charged.

In Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, hospital managers collect authorities and hospital staff collect medical costs for 50 beds of Covid-19 treatment in a hospital with only 25 beds. “Ghost worker” Recently, a special inspector general for reconstruction in Afghanistan reported.

“This fraud has cost Afghan people not only financially but also delayed access to potentially life-saving health care,” the US embassy said in a statement. But for many Afghans, vaccines are the solution to the problem of non-existence.

When the vaccination program started on Tuesday, the first dose was given to Anisa Shaheed, a television reporter who reported the pandemic, at the presidential residence in Kabul.

Distributing vaccines in desperately poor countries consumed by anxiety is a difficult logistical challenge. In addition to overcoming public suspicions and crossing dangerous territories, the Ministry of Public Health needs to navigate vaccination in remote areas with poor roads and primitive infrastructure.

Dr. Othman Tahiri, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health, who reported 56 polio cases in 2020, said the pandemic increased polio cases in Afghanistan. From 29th, 2019.

But I’m also worried about 305 cases Variant of polio Merjan Rasekh, head of public awareness for the ministry’s polio eradication program, said there were no such cases reported in 2019 in Afghanistan in 2020.

Rasefu believes that much of the increase in polio variants is due to Afghan refugees returning from neighboring Pakistan, who are struggling to eradicate polio. WHO is expected to allow Urgent approval By the end of the year vaccines against variants.

While coping with the rise in polio, Tari said health care workers would try to distribute the coronavirus vaccine in areas controlled by the Taliban, which allow militants to run government-run clinics. The Taliban implemented a public health program to warn of pandemics and distributed personal protective equipment while allowing government health care workers to enter their area.

However, Dr. Tahiri admitted that the vaccination team would not be able to reach a wide range of countries where the fighting between the Taliban and government forces was fierce.

According to Dr. Tahiri, 1,000 vaccination teams were trained last week. The ministry wants to donate more vaccines. He said Afghanistan has the capacity to store 20 million doses.

Dr. Tahiri said there is not enough vaccine for everyone in this category yet, but the first dose will go to health care workers and security officials who are “working in endangered and crowded areas.” Journalists are also eligible to apply for vaccination, he added.

According to the Ministry of Health, Afghanistan has recorded more than 55,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 2,500 Covid-related deaths.

However, due to limited testing and inadequate public health systems, experts say the actual number of cases and deaths is exponentially high. A WHO model estimated in May estimates that more than half of Afghanistan’s estimated 34 million people can be infected. The Ministry of Health estimated that more than 10 million Afghans could have been infected with the virus last fall.

There is an unchanging belief that Allah determines the fate of believers, whether or not the Afghans believe the virus is genuine.

Ahmad Shah Ahmadi, a resident of Khost, said he did not need to be vaccinated. “Pagans don’t believe in God, that’s why they fear the coronavirus. For Muslims, there’s little danger,” he said.

However, Kunduz farmer Imam Nazar, 46, said most residents of his village believed the virus was genuine because several villagers died in Covid-19. .. He and the other villagers wanted to get the vaccine, but he said he suspected it would reach their remote areas.

“This government isn’t keeping its promise,” Nazar said.

Fatima Faizi and Fahim Abed contributed to the report from Kabul. Farooq Jan Mangal from Khost; Taimoor Shah from Kandahar.

Where vaccination campaigns face skepticism, war and corruption

Source link Where vaccination campaigns face skepticism, war and corruption

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