Mass polio vaccination campaign launched in Iraq

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Medical worker vaccinates child against polio. UN Photo # 184827

A mass polio vaccination campaign has been launched in Iraq to protect more than four million children under the age of five against the crippling disease.

The four-day campaign is being undertaken by the Ministry of Health with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN children's agency (UNICEF).

It is part of the national response to the re-emergence of the polio virus in the country earlier this year which ended nearly 14 years of Iraq's polio-free status.

Juliette Touma, from the UNICEF's Middle East and North Africa regional office, says the polio vaccination campaign is very important.

“This process is very important, because we do not really know if we can reach all children. There are significant challenges, there are barriers, and there is a raging violence in all parts of the country, but we all hope that we can get to those children and vaccinate them, because polio has returned to Iraq after it disappeared for fourteen years, and there is a need to vaccinate children not only once, but six times in a row.”  (30″)

UNICEF says the polio immunization campaign aims to reach children in conflict zones, displaced communities and host populations in Iraq.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1’27″

 

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