Through the Polio Eradication signature project, more than seven million children across Afghanistan receive polio vaccinations, including 400,000 in Kandahar province. Polio vaccination campaigns occur regularly throughout Afghanistan at a national level, to ensure that polio is eradicated from the country, but also at a provincial level in areas where there is a higher rate of incidence of the disease.
Canada’s investment in the eradication of polio makes Canada the largest international donor to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Afghanistan. Canada’s partners in the international community include the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.
Afghanistan is one of four countries in the world where children can still contract polio. Children younger than the age of five are most at risk for being infected by the disease, and the risk is highest in southern Afghanistan, which includes Kandahar province. (Northern Afghanistan is considered to be polio-free.) With CIDA funding and partner participation in the polio-eradication signature project in Afghanistan, eliminating the debilitating disease is within reach. The polio campaigns have also been used as a platform for delivering other essential health services such as micronutrient supplementation and health promotion.
Canada's signature polio project also includes an investment in cross-border activities. Children are being vaccinated at 11 posts along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which aims to prevent the disease from travelling between the two countries.
The single most onerous barrier to eradicating polio in Afghanistan is a security situation that is unstable, and unpredictable. However, local health workers are working to ensure that the polio vaccine is administered to children despite this hardship.Progress to date:
The Polio Eradication Signature Project has achieved the following significant results to date: