India’s Minister of health, Mansukh Mandaviya declared on 22nd August, Sunday, that the Indian government is taking all the necessary steps to vaccinate evacuees from Afghanistan against the wild Poliovirus; a potentially deadly infectious disease. India has been successful in eradicating Polio and was declared polio free by the World Health Organization on 27th March 2014, after a two-decade toil. This pernicious disease has been exterminated from all continents in Asia, as recorded in 2020, except for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hence, precautionary steps are mandatory. This will ensure that poliovirus gets no foothold in India. Mr. Mansukh appreciated the health team for their endeavours.
Covid-19 screening tests, namely RT-PCRs are being conducted alongside the immunization drive. Free Polio vaccines- OPV and fIPV will be administered to all citizens returning from Afghanistan, which is approximated to be up to 300.
The world is still in the midst of a catastrophic pandemic and all risks of a parallel widespread disease must be mitigated. Due to the ongoing civil war in Afghanistan and the refugees escaping to other parts of the world, the risk of WPVI propagation continues to pose a threat. The Global Public Health Agency has also put forward its concerns regarding Afghanistan, amid the ongoing pandemic which seems to be collapsing under the burden of tumultuous times, violence, failing health infrastructure and shortages in basic amenities for individuals .