Two vaccination campaigns in Afghanistan near completion

MSF is continuing its health care of in Afghanistan with a measles vaccination campaign in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. MSF have targeted children aged between six months and twelve years in the districts of Ghorak and Khakrez and the campaign itself is the result of an agreement in mid-September 2001 between UNICEF and the Ministry of Public Health as part of the national measles campaign.

The total target population is hard to estimate since there are no new population figures available and many people have become displaced in the last few months.

The campaign in Ghorak district is in its last stages with 6,804 vaccinations carried out between February 17 and March 18. The vaccinations in Khakrez will take a few more weeks. Due to 'Newroz', the regional Islamic New Year on March 21, the campaign is on hold and will resume on March 24.

The team is also distributing vitamin A and is doing MUAC and oedema screening. Results of the latter are expected in the coming weeks.

Other activities of MSF in Kandahar include the restarting of the Early Warning System (EWS) for rapid response in case of outbreaks of selected diseases with epidemic potential (such as cholera, measles and meningitis).

The Infectious Disease Ward at the Mirwais Regional Hospital in Kandahar is also being supported and is being extended from 22 to 44 beds. MSF is also preparing for a quick set-up of a Cholera Treatment Centre on the hospital premises. The project in Kandahar is preparing for more assessments in the South Eastern region of Afghanistan in expectation of repatriating Afghan refugees from Pakistan.