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무력분쟁의 위협 속에서 펼치는 소아마비 예방활동

2007.10.26

* At war, against polio
Shoot Country: Afghanistan
* 01 Jul 2007


In the fighting season in 2006, the city of Kandahar nearly fell to a head on assault by the Taliban’s massed forces. Its defences have been improved since then, and the centre of the city has been secured by a heavy police presence.


But much of the province beyond the provincial capital is under Taliban control, making it hard for UN to reach out to people who need them more than ever. Hard, but not impossible.


We’re on the road again, this time through the dust to the town of Spin Boldak of the border with Pakistan.


It’s a hostile environment and the Taliban aren’t the only hazards here. But the road is threatened by them, and one of their leaders has urged his followers to go out and capture a foreigner. So it’s not a safe place, but worth visiting. For Spin Boldak is on the front line of a concurrent war, against polio. 8,000 people use this crossing point every day. And among them every child under five is immunised against polio. There are no exceptions.


I/V Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Representative: We manage to get 500 children every day who cross the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan, and from Afghanistan to Pakistan. We have here a team of UNICEF, WHO and Ministry of Health workers who are here to make sure that all children under 5 years old get their polio drops.
The operation is carried out by Afghan and Pakistani volunteers with the help of UNICEF and the World Health Organisation.


MB to camera: the two governments, of Afghanistan and Pakistan aren’t always on the best terms, but the cooperation here is fantastic. And there is a real chance, that in the middle of this war in Afghanistan, polio can be eradicated from this country. Because of the war, there were parts of this country the immunization teams just couldn’t reach.


Last year there were 31 cases. This year there have been just 6. And, war or no war, next year has been set as the target date for complete eradication.


The only difference between the two border procedures is that men who cross into Afghanistan are body-searched on arrival. The anti-polio regime is exactly the same. And remember that this is conducted in time of war.


It’s immunisation under the gun - guns at the border post, and guns protecting the shura, the local council, at its meeting with our UNICEF delegation. These are the elders who make the anti-polio campaign work in their communities, going first not house to house but mosque to mosque.


The elder explains he is also a religious teacher. As part of e teaching he has urged the people to get their children immunised against polio, and he has come

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