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Kicking Polio out of Afghanistan

My short visit to Afghanistan in October 2013 as part of the Polio Communication Review Team has convinced me that like in my country, Nigeria, there is a determined national effort to kick out polio in the shortest possible time in the country. It has been a tough task considering the security challenges and the terrain of the environment. That notwithstanding, I have seen determination in the UN [United Nations] system and its partners, the willingness and cooperation of the local authorities, as well as the desire of the population to accept polio vaccination and raise healthy children. In spite of the security challenges in some parts of the country, it was clear that the fight against polio is receiving universal support on all sides. It is very reassuring that the program has maintained neutrality by purely focusing on the health of the child irrespective of location or the political persuasion of individual parents. Everyone from the state officials to community elders and religious leaders have admitted to the neutrality factor as being hugely helpful in upholding the credibility of the vaccination program and facilitating the access and guaranteeing the safety of the vaccination teams, particularly in the volatile parts of the country where the opposition is active. Creative strategies and the use of access negotiators have helped vaccination teams to access households in the highly volatile or insecure areas. The evidence of the success of the program in the difficult to reach or volatile areas is the absence of any polio case for over a year.

Polio Networks