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India, Afghanistan cricket teams issue joint appeal to parents to immunise kids against polio

Colombo, Sep.18 (ANI): Cricket teams from India and Afghanistan on Tuesday jointly appealed to parents to immunise their children against polio and end the crippling disease in the region once and for all.

Indian cricketers Virender Sehwag , Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Rohit Sharma met Afghanistan captain Nowroz Mangal, star all-rounder Mohammad Nabi and other key team members today and exchanged cricket bats signed by both national Twenty20 teams.

The bats were exchanged as symbols of both countries’ commitment to end polio once and for all.

On the teams’ return to their home countries, UNICEF will present the bats to the Governments of Afghanistan and India to underline cricket’s support in the fight against polio.

During the Afghanistan versus India clash on September 19, UNICEF, with the support of the International Cricket Council (ICC), will display polio eradication messages on the electronic advertising boards and on the electronic scoreboard.

The messages, in English, Hindi and Pashto, will express support for Afghanistan’s fight against polio and call on Afghan parents, in the local Pashto language, to immunise their children against polio.

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the only three remaining countries yet to stop polio virus transmission.

India stopped polio in January 2011, and is now committed to supporting Pakistan and Afghanistan in eradicating the virus across south Asia, while maintaining very high levels of childhood immunity against polio through regular polio immunization campaigns to guard against an importation of the virus. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)