Iraq | News | More than 3.1 million Iraqi children to be vaccinated against polio

More than 3.1 million Iraqi children to be vaccinated against polio

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Child recieves oral polio vaccine in BaghdadChild recieves oral polio vaccine in Baghdad

Baghdad, 26 November 2019 – Health authorities in Iraq, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, have launched a campaign to reach more than 3.1 million children under-5 years of age with lifesaving polio vaccine.

The 5-day campaign aims to target children in 65 districts in the governorates of Baghdad, Babylon, Diwaniya, Diyala, Muthanna, Thi-Qar, Missan and Basra.

“Over the years, WHO, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF have worked hard to improve immunization coverage in the country. Therefore, it is important that we keep building on our work by making sure that children are vaccinated against childhood preventable diseases like polio and we keep Iraq polio free,” said Dr Adham Ismail, WHO Representative for Iraq. “During this second phase of the campaign, we want to reach all the children under 5 regardless of their previous vaccination status with oral polio vaccine leaving no one out no matter where they are,” added Dr Adham.

WHO supported the development of microplans to guide the vaccination team day by day, mobilized and trained 1300 supervisors and more than 13 000 vaccinators to carry out the campaign. In addition, it is also paying all the vaccination costs, including transportation and other incentives, to ensure that all children are reached going door-to-door and at fixed centres stationed in health facilities as our strategy.

“These vaccines act as a shield, protecting children and babies from diseases, saving thousands of lives in Iraq each year. UNICEF continues to work hard with our partners to ensure that vaccines reach as many children as possible,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

The future of polio eradication hinges on support and engagement at all levels of the programme – from individuals to communities to local and national governments to donors. If the strategies needed to reach and vaccinate children are fully implemented and funded, we are confident that we can deliver a world where no child lives in fear of polioThe future of polio eradication hinges on support and engagement at all levels of the programme – from individuals to communities to local and national governments to donors. If the strategies needed to reach and vaccinate children are fully implemented and funded, we can deliver a world where no child lives in fear of polio

UNICEF worked to ensure that beneficiaries are aware of the importance of the vaccination campaign and that vaccines are properly forecasted, stored and managed; it also provided technical support to public health workers as they developed a detailed and up-to-date map of target children, irrespective of whether the children are internally displaced, refugees, returnees or in host communities, or whether they live in urban, rural, official or unofficial settings.

This is the second phase of the polio campaign after the first one conducted in September that reached 2.6 million children. Vaccines remain the most cost-effective preventive measure against vaccine-preventable diseases like polio, WHO, and UNICEF are committed to supporting the health authorities to vaccinate every child in the country.

Related link

National polio immunization days campaign in Iraq

For further information, please contact:

Ms Pauline Loyce Ajello
Mobile: +964 772 987 7288
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Ms Baraa Afif Shaba
Mobile: +964 780 001 0244
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Ms Ajyal Manssour Al-Sultany
Mobile: +964 774 089 2878
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Mr Innocent Kafembe
UNICEF Communication Specialist
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
+964 7510150949

 

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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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