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UNICEF helps Indonesia fight back against polio

Polio Partners Support Vaccination campaign for 5.2 million children to halt further spread of virus in Indonesia

JAKARTA, 5 MAY 2005 - UNICEF is supporting the emergency vaccination of children in a district near Jakarta, Indonesia, on 5-6 May in an attempt to halt the spread of an outbreak of polio.

In meetings with Indonesian Health officials today, UNICEF agreed that it would immediately support the first phase of the government’s emergency polio vaccination campaign covering the area where two cases were detected over the past two weeks.  This first phase will cover an estimated 1500 children in the affected Sukabumi District, which is 60 kilometres south of Jakarta

In a second phase, UNICEF will contribute $1.3 million to a campaign starting 31 May to vaccinate 5.2 million children throughout Western Java, including the capital Jakarta.

One decade after recording the last case of polio in Indonesia, a 20 month-old girl and an 18 month-old girl from Sukabumi district in West Java have been paralyzed by poliovirus type one (P1).  They had not been immunized against polio. 

Partners in the global polio eradication initiative, including UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),are supporting the Indonesian Ministry of Health to respond to the outbreak. An immunization campaign will start May 31.  The response is expected to cost in the range of US$4 million.

The virus is related to the West African virus currently causing an epidemic across Africa. The ongoing outbreak has so far re-infected 15 formerly polio-free countries and re-established transmission in six of them.

Partners in the global polio eradication initiative, including UNICEF and WHO, are supporting the Indonesian Ministry of Health to respond to the outbreak. An immunization campaign will start May 31.  The response is expected to cost in the range of US$4 million.

UNICEF will contribute $1.3 million to:

  • The training of 40,000 volunteers to go house to house throughout West Java province to initially register children , and then vaccinate them during the campaign.
  • A face to face mobilization campaign to advise people that the children urgently need to be vaccinated.

Early investigations show that the virus was imported.  Events like this are not uncommon during eradication efforts. Polio does not respect national borders and travels with ease. As long as the virus persists anywhere, all un-immunized children are at risk.
 
Immunity against polio in Indonesia is reported by the government at around 90 per cent generally but lower in pockets.  WHO and UNICEF estimates Indonesia’s routine immunization coverage against childhood diseases, including polio, at 70 per cent, according to household surveys.

For further information, please contact:

John Budd, UNICEF Jakarta, +62811936437 jbudd@unicef.org 
Jihan Labetubun, UNICEF Jakarta, +628161995265 jlabetubun@unicef.org
Claire Hajaj, UNICEF New York, +1 212 326 7566 chajaj@unicef.org

Further information: www.polioeradication.org
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF.  The polio eradication coalition includes governments of countries affected by polio; private sector foundations (e.g. United Nations Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation); development banks (e.g. the World Bank); donor governments (e.g. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand,  Norway, Portugal, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America); the European Commission; humanitarian and nongovernmental organizations (e.g. the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies) and corporate partners (e.g. Sanofi Pasteur, De Beers, Wyeth). Volunteers in developing countries also play a key role; 20 million have participated in mass immunization campaigns.


 

 

 

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