Polio Eradication in Afghanistan

The recent reports of violence and political turmoil in Afghanistan were disconcerting to all of us but especially to Rotarians who track polio eradication efforts.  Cases of the wild polio virus are now only found in two countries:  Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The number of cases in 2020 Afghanistan were 56.  There is only one wild polio virus case reported in Afghanistan year to date in 2021.  In 2020 Pakistan had 83 cases; in 2021, also only one!  Global experts relying on their surveillance and environmental sampling data believe this decrease is real and not an artifact of reporting.
We are so close! Rotarians across the globe continue to recommit their pledge to the children of the world.  We will eradicate polio from the globe.
Rotary International is a member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).  Here’s their official statement on Afghanistan:

GPEI Statement on Afghanistan

19 August 2021

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is closely monitoring developments in Afghanistan. GPEI partners and staff are currently assessing immediate disruptions to polio eradication efforts and the delivery of other essential health services, to ensure continuity of surveillance and immunization activities while prioritizing the safety and security of staff and frontline health workers in the country.

The polio programme in Afghanistan has operated for many years amid insecurity and conflict, and will continue working with all actors, agencies and organizations who enable delivery of immunization as well as deliver humanitarian assistance to populations in need across the country. The GPEI remains steadfastly committed to protecting all children from polio and supporting the provision of other essential immunizations and health services.

We strongly believe that the delivery of health care – including polio vaccination – is essential to prevent diseases and safeguard communities. Together with our partners, the people of Afghanistan, national and provincial authorities, we will do everything in our power to continue this critical work.



– Submitted by Rosemarie Rowney