25 million children across the Middle East to get polio drops

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Photo: UNICEF/Ayberk Yurtsever

Twenty-five million children under five across the Middle East will get vaccinated against polio in the coming weeks.

The announcement was made by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of World Polio Day, observed annually on 24 October.

Poliomyelitis, or polio as it is known, is a viral and infectious disease that can affect the nerves and cause partial or full paralysis.

The UN and its partners are bolstering efforts to contain a polio outbreak triggered by the conflict in Syria and Iraq last year.

These vaccination rounds are part of a multi-country effort to eliminate polio in the Middle East.

Thirty-six cases were confirmed in Syria in October 2013 and two further cases were confirmed in Iraq in April this year.

According to UNICEF there have been no new cases of polio recorded in Syria or Iraq since then.

The agency said it's because of efforts made by aid workers to reach children in hard to access areas.

An estimated 200,000 children though will not be reached by the polio drive because they live in conflict-affected areas that are currently inaccessible.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’13″


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