Statement by Toby Lanzer, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator: First Round of Polio Vaccination in Shahwalikot Completed [EN/Dari/PS]

(Kabul, 10 January 2018): In 2017 the district of Shahwalikot in Kandahar province saw five cases of polio, the highest number in any district of the world. The wild polio virus spreads very quickly, and it is crucial for a series of at least three mass vaccination campaigns to take place to prevent the disease from reaching more children in the area.

The health authorities, with support from UNICEF and WHO, today completed the first of three polio vaccination campaigns in Shahwalikot, and in the neighbouring districts of Miyanshin and Nesh, reaching 43,000 children.

I am grateful to the authorities and community leaders who enabled 503 frontline workers to conduct the first campaign this week. I look forward to continued collaboration on this issue as we move forward, together.

Afghanistan remains one of three countries in the world that is still polio-endemic.

Eradicating the disease is one of the chief aims of the United Nations globally. Its agencies in Afghanistan will spare no effort to enable the authorities to tackle this challenge, once and for all. UNICEF plans on providing Afghanistan 100 million doses of polio vaccine in 2018, and together with WHO which supports disease surveillance and the vaccination campaigns themselves, the UN is working closely with the Afghan authorities to rid the country of this terrible disease for good.

For further information, please contact:
Philippe Kropf, Public Information Officer OCHA Afghanistan ( / +93 (0)793 001 110)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit