UNOPS

11/04/2017

Eradicating polio in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of three polio-endemic countries in the world. A new, first-of-its-kind centre will work towards eliminating the disease for good.

UNOPS has designed, constructed, and equipped the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's Centre for the National Polio Emergency Eradication Operations, in support of the Ministry of Public Health's polio eradication campaign efforts.

The Emergency Operations Centre, a first-of-its-kind in Kabul, was constructed with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The building is earthquake resistant, complies with international building standards, is accessible for differently abled people, and is equipped with a wastewater treatment plant and solar energy panels.

Ministry of Public Health personnel will staff the Centre and coordinate, organize and promote polio eradication activities. 

When Afghanistan has completely eradicated the disease, the building will become a national emergency response centre for health.

H. E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan, attended the Centre's inauguration held on 3 April 2017.  Other dignitaries present included the Minister of Public Health H. E. Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation representative Mr. Aporwa Maliya, and UNOPS Afghanistan Country Director Dr. Mohammad Haider Reza.

"Polio eradication is a national and human responsibility," explained Dr. Abdullah, adding that "the polio eradication programme is a major priority for the Afghan government." Dr. Abdullah thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their support of the project and expressed his appreciation of UNOPS for quickly delivering a quality building on a short schedule.

Mr. Aporwa Maliya emphasized that the Gates Foundation will continue to provide assistance to the Afghan people and government: "Construction of the centre is a major step in improving services for polio eradication." Adding: "This is the beginning of our joint cooperation in the field of polio eradication."  On behalf of the foundation, Mr. Apoorva Maliya thanked UNOPS for their outstanding partnership and completing the project beyond their expectations. ​