Launch of Third National Polio Vaccination Campaign in Jordan
Amman, 2 March 2014 – The Ministry of Health in Jordan, with support of UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), launched the third round of the National Polio Vaccination Campaign at the Mafraq Comprehensive Health Centre Sunday, in the presence of the Minister of Health, His Excellency Dr. Ali Hiyasat, UNICEF Jordan Deputy Representative, Michele Servadei, WHO Public Health Officer, Dr. Sabri Gmach, and UNHCR External Relations Officer, Frauke Riller.
The new vaccination campaign, which will take place between the 2nd and 6th of March, targets some 950,000 children between 0 and 5 years old, who will receive two drops of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) across Jordan, including in refugee camps, host communities and settlements.
“Polio remains behind Jordan’s doors,” said Michele Servadei, UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Jordan. “Vaccination is a top priority in UNICEF’s equity agenda and because there is no halfway when it comes to polio vaccination, all children under five must be vaccinated for the country to remain polio free. I would like to appeal to all families and caregivers to bring their children for this crucial third round of polio vaccination.”
Dr. Sabri Gmach, WHO Public Health Officer, noted, "The continuous effort of the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Jordan in the fight against Polio is a great achievement. The success seen in the November campaign proves that a comprehensive coverage is possible. We hope that with the launch of this new campaign we can complete the task. Together with the MoH and our local and international partners, WHO believes the excellent overall coverage in Jordan can be maintained."
Frauke Riller, UNHCR External Relations Officer, said, “It is critical that high coverage of polio vaccination is achieved among all children. To achieve this, UNHCR has been mobilizing Syrian refugees, wherever they live in Jordan, in camps, rural and urban areas alike. Parents need to be aware of the campaign and know where to get their children vaccinated."
The first and second national immunization campaigns that took place in November and December 2013 in Jordan were highly successful, where 1.1 million and over 900,000 children were vaccinated, consecutively. The third round of polio vaccination aims to ensure all children in Jordan remain free of the disease and stop the polio outbreak in 2014.
Polio re-surfaced in Syria last October after more than 14 years. However, Jordan and neighbouring countries remain polio free to date. The virus is active in 10 countries, primarily among the most disadvantaged, remote and conflict-affected populations, whereby only three countries have endemic polio transmission, namely Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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