HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Singapore or Virtually from your home or work.

3rd Edition of

International Public Health Conference

March 21-23, 2024 | Singapore

IPHC 2023

William J Riley

Speaker at International Public Health Conference 2023 - William J Riley
Arizona State University, United States

Title : Polio eradication in Afghanistan: The impact of the regime change on polio eradication initiatives


Background: Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two remaining polio-endemic countries in the world. In Afghanistan, steady progress has been made to control polio over the past two decades, however, there has been growing concern that the regime changes of August 2021 would result in deterioration of polio eradication efforts supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This study seeks to explore the impact of the Taliban government takeover on Afghanistan’s polio eradication programs and initiatives.

Methods: We used a mixed-methods approach relying on secondary data analysis, expert opinion, and extensive literature reviews. We compare the Afghanistan program’s progress to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) end-game strategies and objectives.

Results: Bans on house-to-house campaigns in place prior to regime change have been reduced; allowing polio vaccination workers to resume vaccination distribution across all regions of the country. Polio vaccination coverage rates for children under five years of age have substantially increased since December of 2021. Moreover, Polio cases continue to decrease compared to pre-2021 levels.

Interpretation: Outreach vaccination rates of polio eradication efforts in Afghanistan have improved across the entire country. This indicates that the polio eradication program in Afghanistan has not declined in performance following the regime change and progress in polio eradication initiatives has been made contrary to initial concerns. However, obstacles remain which could seriously jeopardize continued progress, including political instability, violence against vaccination staff, impending humanitarian crises, restricted gender rights, and a failing health care system. Sustained focus and attention are needed in the region to avoid a significant loss of opportunity to eradicate polio globally.

o Audience member will gain knowledge on mixed-methods approach relying on secondary data analysis, expert opinion, and extensive literature reviews on Afghanistan and Pakistan on the Taliban government takeover on polio readdiction programs and initiatives.
o Audience members will learn which outreach programs help polio eradication efforts in Afghanistan.
o Audience member will gain knowledge on which barriers remain that jeopardies polio eradication efforts in Afghanistan.


William Riley, Ph.D., is professor for the Science of Health Care Delivery in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University (ASU), where he serves as the director of the National Safety Net Advancement Center. He was previously the associate dean for the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota and is a former health care executive with more than 20 years of experience as a president and CEO of a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota subsidiary, a large multispecialty medical group, and an integrated delivery system serving disadvantaged populations. He has led quality improvement collaboratives (QIC) in over 200 hospitals, health care systems, and public health departments.