Officials from the Afghan Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) say a new public health initiative will see up to 7.6 million Afghan kids under the age of five receive polio vaccination and another 6.6 million will receive vitamin E capsules.
The polio vaccinations will take place in 28 provinces, with a number of provinces and districts reportedly inaccessible due to weather and security issues.
"In order to eliminate polio disease from our country, polio implementation teams have been assigned to the borders of insecure districts, where they will implement the vaccination programs on campaign days and after that," Minister of Public Health Ferozuddin Feroz said. "In January 2015, 268,321 kids were covered in the south, southeast and east of the country."
The funding for the vaccination initiative amounts to 6.3 million USD, and is being provided by the WHO.
"The goal of this program is to eliminate polio completely from Afghanistan," WHO representative in Afghanistan Dr. Richard told TOLOnews. "We are expecting to completely eliminate this disease from Afghanistan in the upcoming years."
Polio has been eradicated from almost every country in the world. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the three nations in which there are still widespread cases.
During the year 2014, 28 positive polio cases were registered in Laghman, Kunar, Nangarhar, Uruzgan, Khost, Farah, Paktika, Kandahar, Ghazni, Zabul and Helmand. Since the start of 2015, only one positive polio case has been registered with the Ministry of Public Health.