Yemen | News | Polio outbreaks in Horn of Africa and Middle East discussed in special meeting

Polio outbreaks in Horn of Africa and Middle East discussed in special meeting

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23 September 2014 - Ministry of Public Health and Population, along with WHO Yemen, held a periodic meeting on Tuesday 23 September 2014 for the Health System Strengthening Programme Coordinating Committee, National Immunization Technical Advisory Group Committee and National Certification Committee.

The meeting discussed the epidemiological polio situation in the Horn of Africa and Middle East which poses a big threat to Yemen from any potential importation of wild poliovirus into Yemen, a country which has been polio-free since 2006.

Dr Majed Al-Junaid, Deputy Minister of Public Health and Population for Primary Health Care, stated the measures taken by the ministry to prevent any possibility of spread of the virus in Yemen and action plan for implementation of the recommendation of the last meeting for the Horn of Africa Technical Advisory Committee in coordination and cooperation with WHO, UNICEF, World Bank,United States Agency for INternational Development (USAID), UNited Nations Office of the High Commisssioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), and other international and national partners.

Dr Osama Mere, Medical officer at WHO Yemen, and Dr Ali Jahaf, Dircetor General of the Department of Family Health at the Ministry of Public Health and Population presented the proposed indication for action plan to implement the recommendations of the Horn of Africa Technical Advisory Group meeting which was held in Amman, Jordan, last August.

The recommendations, Dr Mere said, emphasized vaccinating high-risk groups, especially refugees, migrants, internally-displaced persons, nomads and marginalized people, increasing the effectiveness of epidemiological surveillance in the coastal areas from where the refugees entered Yemen.

During the meeting, Dr Ghada Al-Haboob, the director of Yemen's National Expanded Programme on Immunization, gave information about the upcoming national measles/rubella immunization campaign which will be held from 9 to 20 November 2014 targeting 11 million children aged between 9 months and 15 years old.

Al-Haboob also pointed out that the Ministry of Public Health and Population is gearing up for inserting muscular vaccine among routine immunization programmes in all health facilities to strengthen children's immunity level against polio.

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 27 426
Total health expenditure (% of general government expenditure) 3.9
Primary health care units and centres (per 10 000 population) 1.6
Life expectancy 65.3

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

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