EU provides 25-mln-euro grant to end polio, support Afghan children

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KABUL: The European Union (EU) would be contributing 25 million euros in support of eradication of polio in the militancy-plagued Afghanistan, UNICEF said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the statement, the grant will provide opportunities to protect Afghan children on their migratory journey, increase their resilience by strengthening their coping mechanisms, including the provision of psycho social support, and facilitate their reintegration into their communities.

“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 the EU delegation to Afghanistan, according to the statement.

The four-year grant will enable UNICEF and partners to better reintegrate children on the move, and to provide them with a protective environment, the statement said, adding the grant will also support UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the government of Afghanistan in their endeavor to eradicate polio.

Afghanistan, according to the statement, is one of the three polio-endemic countries in the world together with Pakistan and Nigeria.

“This significant EU support will help bring hope and stability to the children and people of Afghanistan and will expedite polio eradication,” Adele Khodr, UNICEF Afghanistan representative, said,

“Afghanistan has made significant progress towards polio eradication, where transmission is limited to specific geographical areas. However, access, population on the move and insecurity continue to pose a challenge,” the statement quoted Rik Peeperkorn, Afghanistan WHO representative, as saying.

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