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One Million Doses of BCG Vaccine Arrive in Baghdad

Ministry of Health and UNICEF join forces to improve health services for children across Iraq


Baghdad, 20 November 2011 – One million doses of anti-tuberculosis vaccine BCG arrive today at Baghdad airport. This is the first shipment of vaccines procured under an agreement signed between the Iraqi Ministry of Health and UNICEF to improve the quality of health supplies, vaccines and medicines across Iraq. Under the agreement, signed in July, UNICEF will provide technical and logistical support to the Ministry of Health in procuring much needed vaccines through UNICEF’s Supply Division in Denmark.


“We hope that UNICEF's partnership with the Ministry of Health will lead to a major shift in the quality of health services in Iraq,” said Osama Makkawi, UNICEF’s Representative a.i. “Our overall goal remains to support the government of Iraq in providing quality health services to all children across the country and specially the most deprived of them. The arrival of this shipment of vaccines signals a significant step toward achieving this goal.”


The partnership with UNICEF’s Supply Division, based in New York and Copenhagen, will ensure that the Ministry of Health will be provided with the internationally recognized quality-assurance measures and procurement options through UNICEF’s global headquarters.


The Ministry of Health approached UNICEF after struggling for over 10 months with the marketing companies to procure the BCG vaccine. The delay in procurement led to a serious shortage of this lifesaving vaccine. 


“Despite the dramatic reduction in the under-five mortality in Iraq over the last two decades, respiratory infections remain the second leading cause of death among children,” said Dr. Taha Al-Mulla, UNICEF’s chief of Health programmes in Iraq. “These vaccines will contribute to the reduction of morbidity and mortality of children in the country and assuring the best start for life for all Iraqi children.”


The first shipment of 1 million doses which arrives today will be followed by another 2.4 million doses early next year. Iraq needs around 3 million doses annually to cover its needs. Other supplies to be procured under the joint agreement in the near future will include shipments of Vitamin A and therapeutic milk needed to battle malnourishment in children, as well as cold-chain and other hospital equipment. UNICEF will also support the Ministry of Health’s State Company for Marketing Medicine and Medical Appliances (KIMADIA) in managing its warehouses and logistics.


UNICEF is a world leader in the procurement of supplies for children. The central objective of UNICEF Procurement Services is to assist development partners in the procurement of quality, value-for-money supplies from reliable manufacturers. Worldwide UNICEF provides logistical and procurement support to more than 60 countries through its Supply Division.



UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:


About UNICEF Iraq

UNICEF has been on the ground in Iraq since 1983 working to ensure Iraqi children survive and realize their full potential. UNICEF is supporting the Government of Iraq to develop child friendly policies, build the capacity of institutions that deliver essential services to children, and convene all duty bearers to realize the full rights of Iraqi children. Via a network of staff and partners, UNICEF’s programmes continue to improve basic health services, safeguard a quality education, rebuild water and sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet the needs of the most vulnerable in crisis situations.


For further information, please contact:

Salam Abdulmunem, UNICEF Iraq,, mobile: 00964 780 912 6782



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