Number of reported suspected polio cases on the decrease in Tajikistan as the fourth immunization round begins
The polio immunisation campaign is having a substantial impact on the number of reported suspected cases in Tajikistan, with more than 85 per cent total decrease from the peak period. The biggest reduction is in children under 6 (95 per cent decrease). This positive trend is expected to be further accelerated as the effect of the third polio vaccination round is starting to be observed. Results from the third round report that more than 2.9 million children, or 99.5 per cent of children under 15, have been immunised.
A new round of the polio immunisation drive is starting today in Tajikistan until 19 June 2010. During this round, all children under 15 years of age will receive life-saving polio vaccine. Progressive monitoring and investigation of the polio outbreak size have indicated a need to further vaccinate children under six to strengthen their immunity, as this is the group most at risk and primarily transmitting the virus. This round is the fourth of a series of supplementary immunisation days organized by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF, WHO and international partners to stop a polio outbreak hitting the country.
“It should be reemphasised that polio can only be prevented through immunisation,” says Dr. Nusratullo Salimov, Minister of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan. “The fourth immunisation round aims at further raising children’s immunity against polio. Children aged 0-15 will be targeted during this round. I hope that parents will continue to actively participate in the immunisation campaign.”
“We expect that the number of polio confirmed cases will increase as specimens already collected from suspected patients are laboratory tested”, adds Dr Santino Severoni, WHO Head of WHO Country office in Tajikistan. “However, what is important to establish is the report of cases of acute flaccid paralysis, and that is significantly in decline in the country”.
The positive change in the trend reflects the strong response of parents to have their children immunised during the previous rounds. During the fourth immunisation round, children under 15 years of age can be vaccinated free of charge at immunisation points located in hospitals, local health centres and ad hoc dedicated areas.
“I would like to call on all parents and caregivers in the country to vaccinate their children against polio during this fourth round,” adds Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan. “There has been a tremendous effort to immunise all children throughout the country with the life-saving polio vaccine. Together we need to make sure that this fourth round is even more far-reaching”.
UNICEF, WHO and key partners including United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Rotary International, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (IFRC) are actively conducting resource mobilization to support the cost of preparedness and response activities in Tajikistan and the sub-Region.
For more information, please contact:
Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan:
UNICEF in Tajikistan: