National immunization days against polio kick off in Abkhazia
SOKHUMI, 8 November 2010 – All children aged 0-17 will be immunized against polio during the National Immunization Days that kicked off today in Abkhazia.
The campaign led by the Abkhaz health authorities and supported by UNICEF and the European Union will be carried out in two rounds, from 8 to 14 November and from 6 to 12 December 2010.
“With recent cases of polio reported in Russia and other countries of the region that were previously declared as polio free, the risk of the polio virus arriving in Abkhazia is quite high. Immunizing children with Oral Polio Vaccine in both rounds is the best way to protect their health and prevent the polio outbreak,” UNICEF Representative Roeland Monasch stressed.
Oral polio vaccine (OPV) will be administered to children in all medical facilities, schools and kindergartens across Abkhazia during this polio immunization campaign. Health workers will also undertake outreach activities and visit homes in remote rural areas to ensure all children are immunized.
Polio is a highly infectious disease which has no cure. Children, especially those below 5 years of age are particularly susceptible to the disease which, if not prevented, may result in child disability or, in some severe cases, even death. Polio can only be prevented by immunizing every child with the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which is safe and effective. The polio vaccine is given in the form of two drops to each child, including newborns. The Oral Polio Vaccine has already protected two billion children across the world from polio.
UNICEF is on the ground in 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.
For further information, please contact:
Dragan Markovic, UNICEF Emergency Officer, camp Sokhumi