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Support to Afghanistan's Polio Eradication Initiative Program (2014-2016)

DFATD Contribution: $19,800,000

This program aims to ensure more Afghan children are protected from polio by increasing national polio vaccination coverage. Afghanistan is one of three countries where polio remains endemic and experts believe that Afghanistan is at a critical point in its efforts to eradicate polio. This program supports Afghanistan's Polio Eradication Initiative, which provides polio vaccinations to more than eight million children across the country. Vaccination campaigns occur regularly at national and sub-national levels, with a focus on areas with higher rates of incidence of polio. This program contributes to strengthening immunization services and monitoring the status of polio in Afghanistan. In conjunction with the polio vaccinations, the program also delivers maternal, newborn and child health interventions, including micronutrient supplementation such as vitamin A to prevent blindness and death and zinc for diarrhea, de-worming to improve nutrition and prevent illness in children and activities to promote good health and hygiene.

Polio Eradication (2012-2015)

DFATD Contribution: $ 17,000,000

This grant to UNICEF supports the polio immunization activities of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Afghanistan. Through the Polio Eradication project, more than seven million children across Afghanistan receive polio vaccinations. Polio vaccination campaigns occur regularly throughout Afghanistan at a national level and also at a provincial level in areas where there is a higher rate of incidence of the disease. The polio campaigns are also used as a platform for delivering other essential health services such as micronutrient supplementation and health promotion.

Afghanistan is one of three 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. The biggest barrier to eradicating polio in Afghanistan is the unstable security situation. As part of the project, local health workers work to ensure that the polio vaccine is administered to children despite this situation.

UNICEF leads the procurement and distribution of polio vaccines for the immunization campaigns, as well as providing technical assistance and communications support for the campaigns.

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