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Côte d'Ivoire

UNICEF-supported campaign aims to immunize millions of children against polio in Côte d’Ivoire

Prime Minister Guillaume Soro of Côte d'Ivoire vaccinating a child against polio in the town of Odienné.

By Louis Vigneault

GRAND-BASSAM, Côte d’Ivoire, 6 October 2011 – Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Health and AIDS control, Professor Thérèse N’dri Yoman, recently launched a four-day nationwide UNICEF-supported vaccination campaign, with the aim of immunizing seven million children under the age of five against polio.

Ensuring total coverage

Since the beginning of the year, at least 34 cases of wild poliovirus type three have been confirmed in Côte d’Ivoire - the largest number of children infected with this type of poliovirus in the world. Following the country’s contentious presidential election and its ensuing insecurity, routine vaccination services across the nation were severely disrupted. To ensure that the current campaign runs smoothly, all partners have been mobilized to guarantee that all seven million children receive their drops of the vaccine.

Dr. Brigitte Toure, UNICEF’s Senior Health Specialist for Polio, highlighted the vast communication and social mobilization efforts being made by UNICEF in support of the campaign. “Communities know about polio and how important vaccination is to protect children against the disease,” she said. “Together with our partners we need to ensure that the whole logistic process involving over 13,000 vaccination teams across the country is carried out flawlessly not to miss any children.”

Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Health, Professor Thérèse N’dri Yoman, has launched a four-day nationwide polio vaccination campaign with support from UNICEF.

Maximising the impact

Polio is a highly contagious disease that can leave children paralysed. Just a single dose of the vaccine, however, will protect its young recipient from that tragic fate. To maximise the impact of the campaign, UNICEF is increasing measures to strengthen routine vaccinations for newborn babies in communities and raising awareness on the necessity of hand washing to reduce the spread of the disease.

"In order to stop the epidemic, we are asking the support of parents and caregivers to ensure that all children up to five years of age are vaccinated," stated Ms, Christina de Bruin, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, at the launch of the polio campaign in Grand-Bassam. "We must all work together to meet the global deadline to eradicate the polio virus type three at the end of year 2011, and to ensure that children's right to health, survival and in particular, vaccination, are realized."



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