Children in typhoon-hit Tacloban, Philippines, receive vaccines against measles, polio
TACLOBAN/MANILA, Philippines, 26 November 2013 - Children in Tacloban – the city hit hardest by Typhoon Yolanda – were today vaccinated against measles and polio in the first phase of a mass campaign by the Government of the Philippines with support from UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners. They also received Vitamin A supplements to help improve their immunity against infections.
The vaccination drive in Tacloban is the first phase of a campaign targeting children under five years old in all the typhoon-affected areas. Fifteen teams (10 foreign and 5 national) including volunteers from the Department of Health, the Philippine Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations, were in locations across Tacloban giving vaccines today. The first to receive them were children in 20 evacuation centres – such as San Jose Elementary School, where more than 300 families currently live in conditions that can heighten the risk of infectious diseases.
"The children of Tacloban need all the protection they can get right now," said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Coordinator for the Emergency Response in Tacloban. "Disease is a silent predator, but we know how to prevent it and we will do everything that we can."
During the campaign children being immunized are also screened for malnutrition by measuring their mid-upper arm circumference which will indicate if they are undernourished and require referral for treatment.
For further information, please contact:
Rita Ann Wallace, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1-212-326-7586, Mobile: +1 917-213-4034 firstname.lastname@example.org
Zafrin Chowdhury, UNICEF, Tacloban, Tel: +63 917 867 8366, email@example.com
Kate Donovan, UNICEF, Tacloban, Tel: + 1 212 303 7984, Mobile: +1 917 3781 2128, firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise Shepherd-Johnson, UNICEF, Manila, Tel: + 63 917 464 7028, email@example.com
Nyka Alexander, WHO Communications Officer, Manila, Tel: +63 906 493 5097, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gregory Härtl, WHO Coordinator, News and Social Media, Geneva, Tel: +41 79 203 6715, email@example.com