World Health Organization
منظمة الصحة العالمية
Organisation mondiale de la Santé

Polio Eradication Initiative


(data as of 31 December 2018)

Situation update

Transmission of wild poliovirus in 2018 is restricted to the Southern and Eastern regions in Afghanistan. 21 polio cases were reported in 2018 from six of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Of these cases, 15 are from the Southern region, including nine from Kandahar province with spillover transmission from Helmand and Uruzgan. The Southern region is facing major issues related to inaccessibility. More than 840,000 children have missed vaccination opportunities since May 2018, which makes responding to detected polio transmission difficult. Inaccessibility coupled with vaccination refusal in some communities, particularly in and around Kandahar, makes polio eradication challenging. The six cases in the Eastern region are part of northern corridor transmission zone, which extends from Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan in Afghanistan to KP/FATA in Pakistan.


The programme continues to implement the National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) for Polio Eradication, and has developed a framework of change to address the remaining challenges in the Southern and Eastern regions and achieve interruption of transmission. The country has maintained strong poliovirus surveillance and, in most districts, children’s immunity to the virus has significantly increased.  


The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) reviewed progress towards polio eradication in May 2018 and noted three critical roadblocks to stopping transmission of the virus: children missed due to inaccessibility, refusals, and gaps in campaign quality in areas with security challenges. The TAG noted that if accessibility can be improved in a sustained way, the programme is on the right track to stopping transmission.


Programme risks and challenges

Way forward 

The way forward to eradicate polio in Afghanistan includes:

Related Links 

Afghanistan monthly and quarterly polio snapshots

Polio Eradication Initiative

National Emergency Action Plan 2019 Draft

TAG Feedback January 2019

Framework for Change: Fast-track to zero polio cases

TAG Report May 2018

National Emergency Action Plan 2018

2016 Annual Report of the Polio Eradication Initiative, Afghanistan

Photo story: The people at the heart of polio eradication in Afghanistan

WHO Fact Sheet on Poliomyelitis

National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication 2016 – 2017