Tuesday, 01 October 2019 14:33

Polio National Immunization Days campaign launched in Iraq

Baghdad, First of October 2019 – The Ministry of Health and Environment in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, kicked off the first round of the Iraq polio National Immunization Days campaign on Sunday.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Health and the heads of WHO and UNICEF, Dr Adham Abdel Moniem and Ms Hamida Lasseko officially launched the five-day campaign in the Governorate of Kerbala, southwest of Baghdad. It aims to vaccinate more than 2.6 million children under the age of 5 years in 10 governorates Iraq wide.

“Keeping Iraq polio-free remains a major priority for WHO and its partners. We continue to do everything we can to maintain this great achievement; this campaign is essential and critical to doing so, as well as to minimize the risk of any potential importation of poliovirus in the country,” said Dr Adham Ismail, the Acting WHO Representative Iraq.

Vaccines are the safest and most effective way to protect children against preventable killer diseases, and the campaign is a centerpiece of the Ministry of Health’s work to ensure that every Iraqi child is immunized and no child left behind.

WHO is supporting health authorities with micro-planning, execution, supervision, and monitoring the vaccination exercise among communities in rural, urban and hard to reach areas. Special focus will be placed on children who missed their vaccination in the past and are therefore lagging behind. WHO will also support with the post - evaluation once the campaign is done.

In addition, WHO is supporting more than 13,000 vaccinators and over 1,300 supervisors who are administering the vaccines door-to-door. WHO is also deploying 10 WHO Polio / Expanded Program on Immunization surge staff to the field to monitor the campaign’s roll out.

UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Health to ensure that the vaccines are stored properly and in accordance with international standards. UNICEF provided high quality storage and a digital system that monitors the temperature of the vaccines twenty-four hours a day.

“Quality health care for every child, including immunization, is enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and we must ensure that every boy and girl is able to practice this right. The healthcare and nutrition that a child receives during his or her first five years is crucial to their lifelong development,” explained Ms Lasseko.

In the lead up to the campaign, UNICEF-supported field staff went home to home, tent to tent, to raise awareness among parents and caretakers on the importance of vaccinating their children and the importance of vaccines in keeping the children healthy and lowering the chances of disease outbreaks.

This phase of the campaign covers eighty-one districts in the 10 governorates of Erbil, Suleimaniyah, Dohuk, Ninawa, Kirkuk, Salahiddin, Al-Anbar, Wassit, Kerbala and Najaf. The second round of the campaign will take place in November.

For media more information, please contact:

Ms Zeina Awad, UNICEF Iraq
+964 (0) 782 782 0238
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Ms Pauline Loyce Ajello, WHO
Mobile: +964 772 987 7288
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Ms Ajyal Manssour Al-Sultany, WHO
Mobile: +964 774 089 2878
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Ms Baraa Afif Shaba, WHO
Mobile: +964 780 001 0244
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Additional Info

  • Agency: UNICEF, WHO
Last modified on Tuesday, 01 October 2019 14:51

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