Whooping cough epidemic takes heavy toll on Afghan children

About two hundred children have died in the current whooping cough epidemic in Afghanistan, reports the international humanitarian organization Focus.

According to the World Health Organization, some 40,000 kids have been contaminated in northern areas of the Afghan province of Badakhshan. However, some of the WHO officials say this is an understatement and that the actual number of affected children is almost twice as large.

As a health official of the Afghan Embassy to Tajikistan will have us believe, Afghanistan's government has formed an ad hoc group, out of representatives of the Health Ministry, the WHO, and the Aga Khan Foundation, to work in areas hit by the epidemic. The group is currently on mission to the hard-to-reach Darvaz region. Drugs and medical personnel can be delivered to that region by land only and solely via the territory of the neighboring Tajikistan.

Afghan authorities have reportedly asked Tajik counterparts for assistance in containing the rampant epidemic. Speaking on behalf of Tajikistan's government, Health Minister Alamkhon Akhmedov has expressed willingness to provide medical and other types of aid.

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