Report on millions of never vaccinated children, is a call to make polio history, says UNICEF Executive Director
NEW YORK, 20 June 2012 – “The Independent Monitoring Board on progress with global polio eradication reports the significant finding that 2.7 million children in six countries have never been reached with a single polio vaccine. This is a clarion call to accelerate all efforts to reach these unreached children,” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF.
“Not only have these millions of children never had a polio vaccine but many of these ‘never’ children have not been reached by the life-saving benefits of routine immunization. The report calls on all of us to help find and vaccinate these children, make every encounter with these children count and make history by wiping out this crippling disease.
“As many of these ‘never’ children live in volatile areas of conflict such as eastern parts of eastern DR Congo, Borno in northern Nigeria, the Northwest region of Pakistan, humanitarian space must always be protected and preserved so that the heroes of the polio campaigns – the volunteers, the vaccinators and the social mobilizers – can have full access to children. This is especially the case in a global campaign like the fight against polio.
“The polio campaign is dangerously under-funded. But we are on the verge of victory. Not only can we make history by succeeding in eradicating polio but we will be condemned by history if we fail.
“UNICEF is committed, with partners, to implementing the recommendations outlined in the report such as using polio vaccination campaigns for integrated public health campaigns around good sanitation and nutrition, scaling up use of social mobilization activities so communities take ownership of the health campaigns and finding innovative ways of reaching missed children.”
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