Afghanistan is one of only four countries with endemic polio virus. USAID and the Ministry of Public Health are working together to eradicate the debilitating disease from the country. On November 15, President Hamid Karzai and Deputy U.S. Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone marked the final round of Polio Eradication National Immunization Days with a ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul. The program is designed to encourage Afghans to vaccinate their children under the age of five against polio.
Afghanistan is prone to virus transmission because of a broad border with Pakistan and regular movement of people across the border. Cross-border coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan is in place, and several initiatives are further strengthening polio eradication efforts, including the establishment of permanent vaccination posts at border crossings. Additionally, USAID supports the World Health Organization in improving quality of the vaccination campaigns and supports UNICEF in disseminating polio messages and raising awareness for introducing polio eradication strategies.