FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured at the World Health Organization (WHO) building in Geneva, Switzerland, February 2, 2020. Picture taken February 2, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

In a report, the WHO stated that the deportation of migrants from Pakistan and their entry into Afghanistan could increase the number of polio cases in the country.

According to the report, the World Health Organization plans to administer 175 million doses of the polio vaccine at the Afghanistan-Pakistan crossing area from the beginning of the current year to June, targeting migrants.

“In 2024, two new cases of WPV1 were reported in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, with sustained significant environmental detections indicating WPV1’s spread across regions. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are intensifying vaccination campaigns, aiming to administer at least 175 million doses by mid-2024 to counteract the spread, compounded by the return of over 600,000 undocumented migrants. This situation underscores the ongoing challenge and critical efforts to eradicate WPV1 in the region,” the report reads.

The report indicates an increase in polio cases in Pakistan, stating that two new incidents have been recorded in the country in 2024.

Mojtaba Sofi, a doctor, said: “It’s better to assign mobile teams and dedicated, expert, and compassionate teams at the country’s border areas to ensure everyone entering Afghanistan is educated about polio and its vaccination.”

Syed Abdullah Ahmadi, another physician, said: “There’s a significant responsibility on the Ministry of Public Health to establish health stations at the Afghan borders and places where migrants return to Afghanistan to vaccinate their children.”

Based on the World Health Organization’s numbers shared in the report, more than 600,000 deported migrants from Pakistan have been registered by the International Organization of Migration, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, estimates it will affect up to 1.7 million people to date.

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