Iraq | News | Hundreds of volunteers vaccinate displaced children from Mosul and other underserved areas in Ninewa governorate

Hundreds of volunteers vaccinate displaced children from Mosul and other underserved areas in Ninewa governorate

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Oral-polio-vaccine-mosulBaghdad, 23 May 2017 – More than 1900 health workers and volunteers on Sunday 21 May 2017 began a mass polio vaccination campaign targeting approximately 332 000 children from conflict affected Mosul and other underserved areas in Ninewa governorate. 

The 5-day campaign, organized by the Ministry of Health, Ninewa, Dahuk and Erbil Directorates of Health and supported by WHO and UNICEF, is targeting children from Mosul aged 0 to 5 years residing in 9 districts that include newly accessible areas in Ninewa governorate and 16 internally displaced persons camps in Ninewa and the neighbouring governorates of Erbil and Dahuk. Vaccination teams are making special efforts to reach every child through house-to-house/tent-to-tent visits.

"This is an emergency campaign aimed at boosting the immune system of children from Mosul who for more than 2 years had limited access to vaccine preventable diseases, including polio," said Mr Musani Altaf, WHO Representative in Iraq. “Accessibility and massive disruption to health services in conflict-affected Mosul deprived children of essential childhood vaccinations. With more children now accessible, WHO and its partners are doing everything possible to maintain the gains attained over the years while prioritizing Iraq polio-free status,” added Musani. 

“All children have a right to access quality health care, unfortunately children in Mosul have been deprived of this right and many others for too long. Now is the time to act to ensure we can support them with health care and other urgent needs, including education, water and sanitation services to quickly re-normalize their lives,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative to Iraq.

Led by the Ministry of Health, a strong partnership with all stakeholders supporting the Polio Eradication Initiative in Iraq has been established and maintained. During this campaign, the Ministry of Health deployed vaccinators and oral polio vaccines, while WHO provided technical support in the training of vaccinators and their incentives, transportation and the independent monitoring costs. UNICEF supported the community mobilization and awareness and procurement of vitamin A supplement. 

To improve the quality and impact of the campaign, WHO supported the Iraq Red Crescent Society, identified to monitor and assess the coverage of the campaign; the findings will be used to guide improvements to reach more children by enabling corrective action both during this campaign and in planning for the next rounds.

Iraq remains one of the top priority countries for polio eradication in the Region due to the increased number of vulnerable populations living in difficult conditions. These include internally displaced persons, refugees, communities dwelling in slums and vast portions of the country where insecurity hinders health outreach activities. 

For more information, please contact:

Pauline Ajello
Communications Officer-WHO
Mobile: +964 7510101460
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Ajyal Sultany
Communications Officer-WHO
Mobile: +964 7510101469
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Laila Ali
Communication Specialist
Media and External Relations-UNICEF
Mobile:+ 964 (0) 7809258542
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sharon Behn Nogueira
Chief of Communications
UNICEF
Mobile: +964 (0) 7827820238
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 37 140
Total health expenditure on health (% of general government expenditure) 6.5
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) 50
Number of primary health care units and centres (per 10 000 population) 0.7
Total life expectancy at birth (years) 69.8

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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