Tuesday, 16 April 2019 12:32

The Ministry of Health, supported by WHO and UNICEF, launches the National Immunization Days campaign in Iraq

Baghdad, 16 April 2019 – His Excellency, the Minister of Health, Dr Alaa Alwan in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Acting Country Representative, Dr Adham Ismail, and UNICEF Representative, Ms Hamida Lasseko, launched on 7 April 2019 the Polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) campaign in a health centre in Baghdad. The launch was the outcome of a strong partnership between the United Nations and the Ministry of Health (MOH) at the national and sub-national levels, aimed at ensuring that every child is protected against polio.

“I am very happy to be here. No case of polio has been recorded in Iraq for many years, vaccination campaigns and family awareness will ensure that polio will not return. We hope and seek to achieve a high rate of polio and other vaccination coverage as well as ensure the highest possible level of health for all the people of Iraq” said Dr Alwan.

During the week-long campaign, health teams went from house to house to ensure that all targeted children were covered, particularly vulnerable children in hard to reach and marginalized communities such as internally displaced persons and refugees.

WHO supervised the campaign to ensure that the quality met the highest vaccination standards, provided technical and operational support including incentives for health workers, training of vaccinators, and independent monitors for the campaign. WHO also participated in the awareness campaign run by the Ministry of Health to urge parents to vaccinate their children, including radio and video broadcasts and posts on social media platforms.

“WHO is committed to supporting health authorities in Iraq to reach every child, regardless of where they are. In this campaign, WHO’s priority is to reach all children in high-risk governorates with the polio vaccine in order to protect Iraq and the future of its children. WHO and its partners are proud of the achievements made thus far in the area of vaccine preventable diseases in Iraq,” explained WHO’s Acting Country Representative, Dr Adham Ismail.

UNICEF worked to ensure 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 IDPs, refugees, returnees or in host communities, or whether they live in urban, rural, official or unofficial settings. UNICEF also ran awareness-raising activities to encourage vaccination, including radio discussions, social media engagement and outreach with youth groups.

“We are working closely with all our partners to ensure that children are vaccinated and no child is left behind. Vaccines are safe to use and I urge all parents to take their children to health centers and cooperate with the field vaccinators” said UNICEF’s Ms Hamida Lasseko.

During the campaign, more than 5.8 million children under the age of 5 years from 145 districts in over 18 governorates all over Iraq were targeted, and 25,278 vaccinators and 2,920 supervisors participated.

The campaign was monitored independently by 290 monitors and 38 supervisors from the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in addition to a team of 12 WHO Polio Eradication Officers.

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For more information, please contact:

Gheeda Mayahi, WHO Communications Officer, (+964) 7827886765, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Zeina Awad, UNICEF Chief of Communications, (+964) 7827820238, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNICEF, WHO

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