Kazakh Health Minister and UNICEF Representative launch National Immunization Days against polio
Astana, 6 September 2010 – Kazakh Health Minister Zhaksylyk Doskaliyev and UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Hanaa Singer launched today the National Immunization Days against poliomyelitis by giving two drops of oral polio vaccines to a four-year-old girl called Yelizaveta and 5-year-old boy called Nurlan in Children’s Clinic #7 in Astana city, Kazakhstan’s capital. Kazakhstan is conducting one-round polio campaign on 6-10 September and it will cover up to 2 mln children under 6.
“Due to the outbreak of poliomyelitis in Tajikistan, which is our neighbor in the Central Asian Region, the Kazakh Government decided to conduct one-round immunization of all children under 6 against the disease. Through UNICEF we purchased 2 mln dozes of the polio vaccine. With regards to the children of migrants who travel with their parents to Kazakhstan from the neighbouring countries, all of them were vaccinated earlier,” said Kazakh Health Minister Zhaksylyk Doskaliyev at a press conference following the launching ceremony.
“We appreciate the vigorous response of Kazakhstan’s healthcare system to prevent cases of poliomyelitis and also for its care for the children of those who travel through or to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the only country in the Central Asian Region to buy vaccines at the expense of its Government. Kazakhstan is taking all measures to prevent poliomyelitis in the country. However, the ultimate goal is to eradicate the disease fully in the world and this is possible through the united and coherent efforts by all countries,” said UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Hanaa Singer.
The last case of poliomyelitis was registered in Kazakhstan in 1995 and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified Kazakhstan as polio-free in 2002, but the current immunization campaign is caused by Tajikistan’s polio outbreak, which was also certified polio-free in 2002.
UNICEF is providing support to the Kazakh Health Ministry to the conduct communication campaign to ensure that all parents or caregivers are reached with the information on polio vaccination of their children. Video and audio spots announcing about the campaign are being broadcast on major TV channels and radio stations and communication materials (posters, flyers and Q&As) have been printed and distributed throughout the country.
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