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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Oct 23;64(41):1166-70. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6441a2.

Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication--Afghanistan, January 2014‒August 2015.


Despite recent progress toward global polio eradication, endemic transmission of wild poliovirus (WPV) continues to be reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Afghanistan program must overcome many challenges to remain on track toward achieving the objectives set in the 2013–2018 strategic plan of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Cross-border transmission of WPV type 1 (WPV1) continues to occur among children traveling to and from Pakistan. The country's routine immunization system remains weak and unable to reach recommended benchmarks in most regions; hence, the national Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) relies mainly on providing children aged <5 years with oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), administered during supplementary immunization activities (SIAs). Because of ongoing conflict and insecurity, some children continue to be missed during SIAs in areas not under government control; however, the majority of missed children live in accessible areas and are often unreached because of a failure to plan, implement, and supervise SIAs efficiently. This report describes polio eradication activities and progress in Afghanistan during January 2014‒August 2015 and updates previous reports. During 2014, a total of 28 WPV1 cases were reported in Afghanistan, compared with 14 cases in 2013; nine cases were reported during January‒August 2015, the same number as during the same period in 2014. To eliminate poliovirus transmission in Afghanistan, emergency operations centers (EOCs) need to be established at the national level and in critical regions without delay to improve overall coordination and oversight of polio eradication activities. The recently revised National Emergency Action Plan for polio eradication needs to be fully implemented, including detailed microplanning and enhanced monitoring and supervision of SIAs, as well as improved cross-border coordination with Pakistan.

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