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Kabul, Afghanistan, 23 September 2018 - the EU contributes 25 million euros in support of Afghan children on the move to allow for polio vaccinations
The four-year grant will enable UNICEF and partners to better reintegrate children on the move, and to provide them with a protective environment. It will also support UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Afghanistan in their endeavor to eradicate polio.
“This 25-million-euro grant for both children on the move and polio eradication illustrates the European people’s support and dedication to improving the lives of the most vulnerable children in Afghanistan”, said Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon, Head of EU Delegation to Afghanistan.
The grant launched today will provide opportunities to protect Afghan children on their migratory journey. The aim is to increase their resilience by strengthening their coping mechanisms, including psychosocial support and facilitateing their reintegration into their communities. It will also contribute to the eradication of polio in Afghanistan, which is one of the three polio-endemic countries in the world, together with Pakistan and Nigeria.
“We are extremely grateful to the European Union and its people for their commitment and support to children in Afghanistan,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative. “This significant EU support will help bring hope and stability to the children and people of Afghanistan and will expedite polio eradication.”
Due to an increase in violence, poverty and natural disasters in Afghanistan, there is a large migrant population. Migrant children are exposed to abuse, neglect and exploitation. This grant offer uniquely integrates a two-country response that includes both Iran and Afghanistan and it will strengthen information-sharing across the border. The immunisation of children on the move between Pakistan and Afghanistan is crucial, as experience from other endemic countries shows the critical role of mobile populations in spreading polio and delaying its eradication.
“Afghanistan has made significant progress towards polio eradication, where transmission is limited to specific geographical areas. However, the population on the move and the general insecurity continue to pose a challenge,” said Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, Afghanistan WHO Representative. “This grant presents an excellent opportunity to stop polio transmission.“