Immunization campaign protects 8.7 million children from polio in Indonesia

08 March 2024
A boy shows his marked finger
UNICEF/2024/Al Asad

Jakarta, 8 March, 2024- A major campaign to immunize millions of children against polio has reached 8.7 million children in 74 districts in East Java, Central Java, and Sleman Regency in the Special Region of Yogyakarta (Sleman DIY).  

In response to a polio outbreak in late December 2023, the Ministry of Health, in close collaboration with provincial and district governments, the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF, swiftly launched a campaign to contain the spread of the disease. The first round of immunization started on January 15 and the second round on February 19.

By March 5, some 8.7 million children under age seven in the targeted areas had received two full doses of polio vaccines, protecting them from the highly contagious disease. 

In Madura Island, local government leaders in Bangkalan, Sampang, Pamekasan and Sumenep rallied behind the campaign, making a “Madura 100%” pledge to help ensure the targets were reached through whole-of-society action, including from the business sector and influential public figures. 

The media also supported efforts to combat misinformation and increase vaccine acceptance by providing accurate and trustworthy information from credible sources.

During the second round of the campaign, several companies and local Chambers of Commerce in East Java and Central Java played a key role by supporting their employees to ensure their children were immunized. 

In both rounds of the campaign, health workers conducted door-to-door visits to help ensure maximum coverage, along with vaccination drives held in schools, Posyandus and Puskesmases. 

Director General of Disease Prevention and Control dr. Maxi Rein Rondonuwu appreciated the collaborative work of various parties in handling the polio outbreak and making Sub PIN Polio immunization a success in East Java, Central Java and Sleman district, DI Yogyakarta.

“Thank you for the quick response from various parties in tackling Polio in Indonesia. Our commitment is to give special attention to areas with low immunization coverage and prone to outbreaks by strengthening routine immunization," Director General Maxi explained.

Director General Maxi added that the government also continues to carry out surveillance activities for acute paralysis and environmental polio surveillance. He also asked the public, especially parents, to complete their children's polio immunization, namely 4 drops aged 1 to 4 months and 2 injections aged 4 to 9 months, as well as other routine immunizations for children according to age.

“Use proper toilet and then wash your hands with soap. Also immediately report to health officials if you see cases of paralysis in children under 15 years of age," he said.

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a disease caused by the polio virus. It attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death within hours. It is spread through water, food or hands contaminated with the faeces of someone who is infected with the virus.

Since 2014, Indonesia has been polio-free, maintaining that status even amid the COVID-19 response. However, challenges persist due to low rates of routine immunization coverage and inadequate sanitation conditions in certain areas.

“As we mark this significant milestone in our fight against polio, we commend the tireless efforts of our government partners, frontline health workers, the business community, influencers, young people, the media and others who have dedicated their time for the success of this immunization campaign,” said Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Indonesia’s Representative. “This underscores the power of collaboration in protecting children from preventable diseases and serves as a testament to our shared commitment to ensure a future without polio in Indonesia.”

"In the ongoing fight against polio, the safety and efficacy of polio vaccines have been consistently demonstrated, providing a crucial defence against a disease that need not – must not – persist. Notably, global initiatives have yielded significant progress in introducing innovative tools to enhance the swift and high-quality implementation of immunization campaigns, ensuring widespread coverage during outbreaks,” said Dr N. Paranietharan, WHO Representative to Indonesia. 

Dr Paranietharan also emphasized the importance of prioritizing routine immunization to protect children’s health not just against polio but a range of other vaccine-preventable diseases, in alignment with the global Immunization Agenda 2030. “Every child, everywhere, must have full access to the life-saving benefits of routine immunization,” he said.

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Media contacts

Biro Komunikasi dan Pelayanan Publik
Ministry of Health
Tel: Hotline 1500-567, SMS 081281562620
Kinanti Pinta Karana
Communications Specialist
UNICEF Indonesia
Tel: +62 8158805842

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