Media advisory: West Africa synchronized polio immunization campaign, February-March 2009
POLIO OUTBREAK RESPONSE
During the immunization days teams will go door-to-door while others will be in schools and health centers. The plan is to reach every child, even in the most remote rural areas or in the most populated urban areas.
More than 162,000 trained immunizers will aim to reach every child with a polio vaccine (67,000 for Nigeria only). A total of 66 millions doses of vaccine are made available for each round of the campaign (33 million for Nigeria only).
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Information activities have already started to prepare the ground. These include the involvement of local authorities, traditional and religious leaders; interpersonal communication at the community level by social workers and volunteers; community mobilization and the broadcast of TV and radio spots
The campaign aims at reaching a critical mass of polio immunization coverage in order to stop the spread of the wild polio virus. The highest priority is to reach every child in Nigeria and in the high-risk areas across the region (districts where cases where reported in re-infected countries, districts with low routine immunization coverage and districts where new case surveillance is weak).
The key to stopping polio in its tracks is comprehensive and coordinated vaccination campaigns and cross-border planning. Undertaking the campaign simultaneously in 8 countries reduces the risk of missing children, particularly in a context where there is likely to be large movements of population.
WHO is Involved?
On the ground, more than 162,000 trained immunizers will aim to reach every child with an oral polio vaccine (67,000 for Nigeria only). A total of 66 millions doses of vaccine are made available for each round of the campaign (33 million for Nigeria only).
The polio eradication coalition includes governments of countries affected by polio; private sector foundations (United Nations Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation); development banks (World Bank); bilateral donor governments; the European Commission; the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and nongovernmental organizations as well as corporate partners (Sanofi Pasteur, De Beers and Wyeth). Volunteers in developing countries also play a key role.
Polio cannot be cured and can only be prevented by immunization. WHO recommends that infants receive three doses of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) in the first year of life.
Polio in the world
Polio in West Africa
As of 13 February, 26 cases of wild polio virus have been reported in West Africa - Nigeria (25) and Niger (1).
Cost of the campaign
For more information, please contact:
For updates on the campaign, please visit: www.unicef.org/wcaro