Afghanistan is expected to launch a nationwide measles vaccination campaign on Saturday, officials from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on Thursday.
MoPH has called on families across the country to vaccinate their children – between the ages of nine months and ten years old - against the disease.
Families with children between the ages of nine months and ten years must take them to the nearest health clinics and get their children vaccinated, said the ministry of public health.
Statistics show that over the past six months, 58 children died of measles across the country while 68 died last year.
Currently more than ten children with measles are being treated at the Indira Gandhi Children's hospital in Kabul.
“We are living in the village where there is no clinic or hospital,” said Zainab, the mother of a child with measles.
“Symptoms of measles in children are first like flu and victims sneeze, inflamed eyes and they cough, and have pain throughout their body and a fever,” said Anwarul Haq Yousufzai, director of Indira Gandhi Children's hospital in Kabul.
In the first six months of the current year, over 450 children with measles were treated at the Indira Gandhi Children's hospital.
Statistics indicate that in the past 18 months, about 130 children died from the disease - which shows a visible increase in the spread of the infectious disease.
“In areas where there is insecurity, people hardly manage to get access to health centers, so children become the victims in such areas,” said Gula Jan Ayoub, an official from the ministry of public health
The vaccination campaign will first be carried out in seventeen provinces and the process will be expanded to the remaining provinces within the next three months.
“Families must use this golden opportunity so that no child is affected by this deadly diseases,” added Ayoub.
It is expected that over 13.8 million children under the age of ten will get the vaccine during the campaign.
Measles is a viral infection of the respiratory system and is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva.
An infected person can release the infection into the air when they cough or sneeze.
The measles virus can live on surfaces for several hours and anyone within close proximity can become infected.
Drinking from an infected person’s glass, or sharing eating utensils with an infected person, increases the risk of infection.