Polio Outbreak in Malawi
UNICEF and partners' response
Since the first Wild Polio Virus (WPV) case was reported in February 2022, there have been no new cases. The Government of Malawi with support from partners has carried out three of the planned four rounds of national vaccination campaigns against wild poliovirus Type-1. The target for all four rounds of vaccines is to reach over 23 million children with more than 80 million doses of the bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine, which is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for wild poliovirus (type 1). So far 1, 022 92 cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) have been reported in Malawi. The high number of AFP reports could be attributed to improved surveillance and increased reporting due to the ongoing OPV campaigns.
To coordinate the Polio response, a national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) with technical working groups (Operations, Surveillance, Logistics and Vaccine Management, Social Mobilization and Data Management) is fully functional and holding daily coordination meetings. An in-country Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) team also supports and works as one team with the Government of Malawi.
UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Malawi and partners in its fight to end polio for good. In addition to procuring 6.8 million polio vaccine doses, UNICEF also supported the strengthening of overall immunization supply chain by installing 270 new vaccine refrigerators, repairing 135 non-functional cold chain equipment, rational distribution of 1,000 vaccine carriers and 150 cold boxes. In partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF has trained 13,500 health workers and volunteers, 34 district health promotion officers and 50 faith leaders.