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Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. Deputy Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone marked the final round of Polio Eradication National Immunization Days on November 15 with a ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul.
The program is designed to encourage Afghans to vaccinate their children under the age of five against polio. Afghanistan is one of only four remaining countries with endemic polio. During the ceremony, President Karzai and Ambassador Ricciardone both administered polio vaccination drops to a number of children.
Afghanistan is prone to virus transmission because of a broad border with Pakistan and movement of the people across the border between the two countries. Cross-border coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan is in place and several steps have been instituted to further strengthen the coordination. These include synchronizing campaign dates, data sharing, regular meetings, and the establishment of permanent vaccination posts at crossing points on the border.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is a partner with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health to achieve a polio-free country and supports the World Health Organization in improving the quality of vaccination campaigns. USAID also supports UNICEF in disseminating polio messages and raising awareness for introducing polio eradication strategies. Read more about USAID's work in Afghanistan.