Improvements to sanitation and hygiene are known to reduce the transmission of the polio virus. This field note documents the experience of implementing polio eradication programmes in Afghanistan’s informal settlements using ‘Afghan Context Community Led Total Sanitation’ (AC-CLTS). This is an adaptation of CLTS for an urban context within an integrated polio eradication project targeted to high-risk polio districts. This was a collaborative programme implemented by the Ministry of Public Health, provincial Department of Public Health and UNICEF in two informal settlements of Kandahar province (Loya Wala and Manzil Bagh) in 2019 and 2020.
In addition to blocking virus transmission routes, implementing the AC-CLTS approach proved effective in persuading parents to vaccinate their children against poliovirus through community triggering events and follow up visits to individual households. The results of the pilot include a total of 350 open defecation free (ODF) communities, routine practice of improved hygiene behaviours and increased polio vaccine uptake by the targeted population.
The content of this fieldnote was developed in the first half of 2021 and does not reflect the situation in Afghanistan post July 2021.