Press releases and news notes
Statement by UNICEF South Asia Regional Director, Jean Gough, from Afghanistan and Pakistan border
SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan, 11 November 2017 – “The town of Spin Boldak on Afghanistan’s southern border with Pakistan is at the epicentre of the global effort to eradicate polio.
More than 355,000 children under five years-old vaccinated against polio in hard to reach areas of Syria
DAMASCUS, 18 August 2017 – UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and partners have completed the first round of a vaccination campaign in response to the recent outbreak of vaccine-derived polio in Syria.
From coast to coast: Africa unites to tackle threat of polio
GENEVA/BRAZZAVILLE/NEW YORK/DAKAR, 24 March 2017- More than 190,000 polio vaccinators in 13 countries across west and central Africa will immunize more than 116 million children over the next week, to tackle the last remaining stronghold of polio on the continent.
Major campaign launched to immunize 5.8 million Iraqi children against polio
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 24 October 2016 – A five-day polio vaccination campaign is under way in Iraq to reach an estimated 5.8 million children below the age of five in Iraq, regardless of previous vaccination status.
New polio cases in northeastern Nigeria underline risks for children in conflict - UNICEF
NEW YORK, 11 August 2016 – The sobering news that two children have been paralyzed by wild poliovirus in northeastern Nigeria underscores the urgency of eradicating the disease in conflict-affected areas, UNICEF said today.
Polio-Free World in Sight as Largest Vaccine Rollout in History Kicks Off
GENEVA, 14 April 2016 – Next week marks the beginning of the largest and fastest globally coordinated rollout of a vaccine into routine immunization programs in history. Between 17 April and 1 May, 155 countries and territories around the world will stop using the trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV), which protects against all three strains of wild poliovirus, and replace it with bivalent OPV (bOPV), which protects against the remaining two wild polio strains, types 1 and 3. This effort will provide better protection for children against polio, particularly those most vulnerable to infection.
World Polio Day: Fewer children than ever with polio
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 23 October 2015 – Never before in the history of polio have so few children in so few countries contracted the crippling virus – but we cannot rest until the number of cases is zero, UNICEF said on the eve of World Polio Day.
UNICEF and WHO ready to support immediate polio vaccination campaign in Ukraine
KYIV, Ukraine/COPENHAGEN/GENEVA, 9 October 2015 – Six weeks after the polio outbreak in Ukraine, UNICEF and WHO have stepped up calls for an immediate first round of nationwide polio vaccination.
World Health Organization removes Nigeria from polio-endemic list
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 25 September 2015 – The World Health Organization announced today that polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria. This is the first time that Nigeria has interrupted transmission of wild poliovirus, bringing the country and the African region closer than ever to being certified polio-free.
Devastating Middle East polio outbreak on verge of being stopped, say experts
BEIRUT, 27 January 2015 - A 12-month emergency immunization response across the Middle East appears to have halted an outbreak of polio that began in Syria and Iraq, according to health experts meeting in Beirut.
Ten million childhood disabilities prevented in campaign to end polio – UNICEF
NEW YORK, 23 October 2014 – Every day, a thousand or so children have been protected from disability during a 26-year global effort to eradicate polio. The worldwide campaign has immunised millions of previously-unreached children across the globe, UNICEF said on the eve of World Polio Day.
Amid ongoing conflict, Iraq successfully implements polio campaign supported by UNICEF and WHO
ERBIL / AMMAN, 1 September 2014 – A mass polio immunization campaign across Iraq earlier this month succeeded in reaching 3.75 out of the 4 million children under the age of 5, despite the ongoing violence sweeping much of the country.
Mass Polio Vaccination Campaign Supported by WHO and UNICEF Kicks Off in Iraq
ERBIL/AMMMAN, 11 August 2014 – Iraq has launched a polio immunization campaign aiming to protect over four million children under the age of 5 throughout the country against the crippling disease.
Mass global action needed to protect children against polio in Syria, Iraq and region
AMMAN/CAIRO, 22 July 2014 – In a report released today, WHO and UNICEF announced completion of the first phase of the biggest polio vaccination campaign ever undertaken in the history of the Middle East. Twenty-five million children under the age of five were reached in seven countries in 37 rounds.
Equatorial Guinea Kicks Off Polio Campaign with UNICEF and partners
BATA, Equatorial Guinea, 24 April 2014 – In response to the third confirmed case of poliovirus in Equatorial Guinea, the government, UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners have launched a national polio immunization campaign of children under 15.
First mass vaccination campaigns start since polio found in Iraq
AMMAN, 6 April 2014 – Polio vaccination campaigns commenced in Syria, Iraq and Egypt today, aiming to reach more than 20 million children over the next five days.
Joint GPEI-GAVI Statement on the Availability and Price of Inactivated Polio Vaccine
COPENHAGEN/NEW YORK, 28 February 2014 - The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and the GAVI Alliance welcome the conclusion of UNICEF’s tender process, which makes accessible sufficient quantities of affordable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to support country introductions, in line with the ambitious timeline of GPEI’s Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018.
Healthier future for millions of children as India becomes polio-free
NEW YORK/NEW DELHI, 11 February 2014 – Today, millions of children have a better chance of a healthier future, as India marks the achievement of moving from being a polio-endemic country to polio-free.
Polio immunization campaign kicked off in the State of Palestine as part of massive regional efforts
GAZA, 9 December 2013 - Joining efforts to stop a polio outbreak in Syria from spreading across the region, UNICEF is supporting Palestinian Ministry of Health partners to immunize up to 630,000 children aged five years and younger against polio.
Over 23 million children to be vaccinated in mass polio immunization campaign across Middle East
CAIRO/AMMAN, 9 December 2013 – The largest-ever immunization response in the Middle East is under way this week, aiming to vaccinate more than 23 million children against polio in Syria and neighbouring countries over the coming weeks.
Japan steps up to help stop polio outbreak in Somalia
TOKYO, 5 August 2013 – UNICEF has received an emergency contribution of US$1.3 million from the Government of Japan to procure and distribute urgently needed polio vaccines for children in Somalia.
UNICEF, WHO condemn attacks on polio ‘heroes’ in Pakistan
Joint Statement - 19 December 2012
Pneumonia still number one killer
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, 12 November 2012 – Marking the fourth annual World Pneumonia Day, November 12th, world leaders and the Global...
Vaccine suppliers integral to achieving polio free world
COPENHAGEN, 24 October 2012 - On World Polio Day, UNICEF has commended the continued contribution of industry to global polio eradication efforts...
A year without polio: Angola celebrates victory with a vision to eradicate
LAUNDA, 10 August, 2012 – Today, Angola marks a year without a new wild poliovirus case, moving the world a step closer to the final global goal of eradicating...
Report finds millions of children never vaccinated, UNICEF calls for action to reach them
Statement - 20 June 2012
How to meet 111 million children in four days
BRAZZAVILLE/DAKAR, 21 March 2012 - Health Ministries, UN agencies and communities are uniting with tens of thousands of volunteer immunizers over...
Central African Republic launches national immunization campaign to eradicate polio
BENZAMBE, CAR, 24 February 2012 – A national immunization campaign to eradicate polio was launched today in the Central African Republic...
Mia Farrow calls for better protection of children against polio and violence in the DRC
BUKAVU / NEW YORK - 22 February 2012 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow wrapped up her visit to the Democratic Republic of the...
Mia Farrow launches polio vaccination campaign in Chad
N’DJAMENA, Chad 17 February 2012 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow participated today in the launching ceremony of the national polio...
India records one year without polio cases
ATLANTA/EVANSTON, Ill./GENEVA/NEW YORK/SEATTLE, 12 January 2012 – India appears to have interrupted wild poliovirus transmission, tomorrow...
Amitabh Bachchan launches new Polio Communication Campaign
MUMBAI, India, 15 December 2011 - Lauding India’s unprecedented progress against polio, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Polio Eradication...
UNICEF: Saudi Arabia provides critical support for polio eradication in Niger
NIAMEY, 16 December 2011 – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed US$1,588,000 to UNICEF Niger to support polio eradication. The funds...
UNICEF leads community forums against polio in eastern Chad
N’DJAMENA, Chad, 18 May 2011 – In an effort to eradicate polio in Chad, UNICEF is stepping up its social mobilization efforts at the grassroots levels by mobilizing...
Massive international effort to stop polio epidemic across west Africa
BRAZZAVILLE/DAKAR, 25 March 2011 - Health experts today confirmed that a devastating polio epidemic in west African countries is on the verge of being stopped...
UNICEF Executive Director to DR Congo as polio outbreak spikes
BRUSSELS/NEW YORK/KINSHASA, 28 February 2011 – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake will arrive in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the...
UNICEF, WHO and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation applaud Angolan Government for renewed commitment to polio eradication, pledge support, and urge continued action
LUANDA, 25 January 2011 - As their visit to Angola came to a close today, Mr. Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Global Health...
UNICEF and Gates Foundation join forces to support Angola's efforts to eradicate polio
LUANDA, 21 January 2011 - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF today announced that Mr. Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, and Dr. Tachi Yamada...
Japan boosts child survival in Nigeria with $10.4 million
ABUJA, Nigeria 10 December, 2010 - UNICEF today received a grant of US $ 10.4 Million for Child Survival programmes in Nigeria. Donated by the Government...
UNICEF and partners launch emergency funding appeal for polio outbreak in Congo
NEW YORK, 23 November 2010 - UNICEF, Rotary International and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched an emergency appeal for $23.5...
Two million Ugandan children targeted for polio immunizations
KAMPALA, 18 November 2010 - In response to the polio case detected in the Bugiri district in mid-October, the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF...
Africa seizes chance against polio
DAKAR/BRAZZAVILLE, 26 October 2010 – This week, Africa seizes an unprecedented chance to drive out polio when 15 countries across the continent launch...
Angola launches nation-wide polio immunization campaign
LUANDA, 4 August 2010 - In anticipation of Angola’s upcoming polio immunization campaign from 6-8 August, UNICEF and WHO call for the full...
Horn of Africa once again polio-free, UNICEF and polio partners announce
ATLANTA/EVANSTON/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 30 July 2010 – The Horn of Africa is again polio-free, with Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda having...
UNICEF awarded emergency grant to support Tajikistan polio outbreak response
NEW YORK, 2 July 2010 – UNICEF has received two emergency grants, totalling $350,000, to support immunization efforts in Tajikistan, following a...
Global Polio Eradication Initiative launches 2010-2012 Strategic Plan for interrupting polio worldwide
GENEVA, 17 June 2010 – In Geneva this Friday, a broad range of stakeholders will formally launch the new Strategic Plan 2010-2012 for eradicating wild...
Afghanistan and Indian Cricketers “Bowl Out Polio” Together in ICC World Twenty20 Tournament
RODNEY BAY, St. Lucia, 1 May 2010 - Indian and Afghanistan cricketers go head-to-head for the first time ever 1 May in the International Cricket Council World Twenty20...
Global polio eradication partners respond as polio outbreak claims first victims in Tajikistan
DUSHANBE, 23 April 2010 – After a 13-year absence, Tajikistan has recently witnessed a sudden reappearance of poliomyelitis (polio), with seven cases confirmed so far and more...
Fight to end African polio outbreak enters second round
DAKAR/BRAZZAVILLE, 23 April 2010 – More than 77 million children in 16 countries will be vaccinated against polio from tomorrow (Saturday) in the critical second round of a synchronized...
Africa united in fight against polio outbreak
DAKAR/BRAZZAVILLE, 4 March 2010 - More than 85 million children under five years old will be immunized against polio in 19 countries across...
Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow to travel to Chad to highlight polio
NEW YORK/GENEVA/N’DJAMENA, CHAD, 26 February 2010 – Internationally acclaimed actress, humanitarian and UNICEF Goodwill...
Afghanistan first in world to use new vaccine against polio
Kabul, 15 December 2009 – A new vaccine against polio will be used for the first time today in polio immunization campaigns in Afghanistan...
Global Polio Eradication Initiative intensifies its activities
NEW YORK, 17 July 2009 – UNICEF convened a meeting of partners today to review progress in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative...
Ministry of Health and UNICEF Zambia join with mobile phone companies for Child Health Week
LUSAKA, 16 July 2009 – To highlight Zambia’s Child Health Week activities, which this year focus on preventing polio, the Ministry of Health and...
Synchronized polio campaign kicks off across eight countries in West Africa
DAKAR / Senegal, 27 February 2009 - Fifty-three million children under five are expected to be reached across eight West African countries in a...
Academy Award recognition for India’s fight to eradicate polio
NEW DELHI, 18 February 2009 - The Final Inch, a film documenting the historic effort to eradicate polio in India, has been nominated for an Academy....
Renewed immunization efforts aim to make Sudan "Polio Free"
KHARTOUM, 12 February 2009 - Renewed efforts are being made to eradicate polio in Sudan, as the first mass immunization campaign of 2009, targeting nine...
UNICEF inducted into Polio Hall of Fame
WARM SPRINGS, GEORGIA, 14 November 2008 – UNICEF was inducted into the Polio Hall of Fame today in recognition of its role as a founding partner in the Global ...
Almost five million children reached in latest Iraq polio drive
AMMAN/BAGHDAD, 4 November 2008 – In its determination to maintain polio-free status, the Government of Iraq successfully completed another...
10,000 health workers stop polio in one of most dangerous places on earth
GENEVA, 25 March 2008 – Somalia is again polio-free, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) announced today, calling it a 'historic achievement...
New polio drive to protect Iraqi children
AMMAN/BAGHDAD, 2 September 2007 – Another massive effort begins today to deliver a critical vaccine to as many Iraqi children under five years old as...
Polio immunization campaign to protect nearly five million children in northern Sudan
KHARTOUM, 6 August 2007 - An estimated 4.9 million children across northern Sudan are being targeted in a special round of polio immunization beginning on Monday 6 August.
Somali religious leaders join the fight against polio
NAIROBI, 18 July 2007 – The Puntland Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs, Abdirizak Yasin Abdulle, led 40 religious leaders from North East Somalia in a joint declaration of support for polio prevention and immunization today.
The Japanese government contributes US$19.5 million to help eradicate polio and boost child survival in Africa and Asia
TOKYO/JAPAN, 14 June 2007 - The Government of Japan is contributing some US$19.5 million to UNICEF to boost up the global effort towards polio eradication, and reinforce...
Polio the target for Zimbabwean Health Campaign
HARARE, 6 June 2007 – Two million Zimbabwean children are being vaccinated against polio during the country’s Child Health Days. The campaign, launched on...
Efforts to eradicate polio in Afghanistan move forward
KABUL/NEW YORK, 25 April 2007 - Afghanistan continues its efforts to eradicate polio in the country. In a nation-wide campaign held from 22-24 April...
Anti-polio drive to immunize more than seven million children in Afghanistan
TORONTO, 25 March 2007 - A massive four-stage campaign to vaccinate more than seven million children under five years of age against the deadly polio virus will get...
5.5 million under five Angolan children will be immunized against polio
LUANDA, 30 November 2006 – Angola will conduct from 2 to 4 December 2006 one more decisive round of its National Immunization Days (NIDs) towards polio eradication, expecting to immunize 5.5 million under five years children in all the 18 provinces.
Despite difficulties, polio immunization drive underway in Iraq
GENEVA, NEW YORK, AMMAN, 14 November 2006 - A national polio immunization drive to protect 4.8 million Iraqi children was launched by the Iraqi Ministry of Health. The campaign was delayed for a week because of security concerns across parts of the country.
Sudan polio immunization campaign to protect nearly eight million children, despite ongoing security concerns
KHARTOUM/JUBA, 2 November 2006 - An estimated 7.8 million children across Sudan will be targeted in the next round of polio immunization, which starts on Sunday.
Lebanon launches nation-wide vaccination campaign to protect children against polio
BEIRUT/LEBANON, October 30 2006 – This week, more than 320,000 young children throughout Lebanon will receive the first round of polio vaccinations in a two-phase national immunization campaign.
Japanese support for polio eradication and malaria prevention in Nigeria
ABUJA, 23 August 2005 - The Government of Japan donated US $4.2 million (JPY 495 million) to UNICEF today to support polio immunization and malaria prevention in Nigeria. The country accounts for nearly 70 per cent of the world’s polio cases and 400,000 Nigerian children die each year as a result of malaria, the leading killer of children in Afica. Around 20 per cent of children die before their fifth birthday.
UNICEF and partners begin immunisation campaign for children displaced by the Lebanon conflict
BEIRUT, 4 August 2006 - UNICEF measles campaign in Beirut has been seriously hampered by recent bombings. While the campaign is still going on, it has been greatly disrupted.
New cases of polio prompts further immunization drive in Bangladesh
DHAKA, 4 August 2006 – Only one month after completing three polio National Immunisation Days (NIDs), the Government of Bangladesh has ordered a further three polio NIDs this year in response to at least 10 new cases of polio detected in the country.
Two million children to be reached in Afghan polio immunization drive
KABUL, 1 May 2006 – More than two million children in southern, south-eastern and eastern Afghanistan will be targeted by a new three-day polio eradication drive, to be launched on Sunday 7 May. The immunization campaign comes shortly after the country’s health authorities reported a sixth case of the polio virus in the south of the country this year.
Bangladesh responds to first case of polio in five years with massive immunisation campaign
Dhaka, 16th March, 2006 - Bangladesh will immunize 18 million children under the age of five years three times in the next three months due to the re-emergence of the poliovirus after an absence of the disease for more than five years. The last reported case of polio in Bangladesh was in August 2000.
Polio Endemic Countries Hit All-Time Low of Four
Geneva/Evanston/Atlanta/New York, 1 February 2006 – The number of countries with native polio has dropped to an all-time low of four, as polio eradication efforts enter a new phase involving the use of next-generation vaccines targeted at the two surviving strains of virus.
Sudan pushes polio into retreat: Mass immunization drive launched to reach 6.3 million children
KHARTOUM, 15 November - As the latest in a series of major polio immunization drives gets underway in Sudan, the Ministry of Health announced that the polio epidemic that hit the country last year seems finally to be in retreat. The epidemic paralysed 152 children over the course of the last 12 months. But since June, cases have fallen to zero thanks to an unprecedented year-long immunization effort backed by UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and other organizations.
Massive international effort stops polio epidemic across 10 west and central African countries
Geneva/New York/Atlanta/Evanston, 11 November 2005 - Public health experts have confirmed that a polio epidemic in ten countries in west and central Africa - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Togo - has been successfully stopped. The epidemic has paralysed nearly 200 children for life since mid-2003, but no new cases have been reported in these countries since early June. At the same time, polio eradication efforts are intensifying in Nigeria, where extensive disease transmission continues, as part of a mass polio campaign across 28 African countries beginning today.
New tools move polio eradication drive into final phase
NEW YORK, 12 October 2005 - Strong advances in the remaining polio endemic areas and the recent introduction of new tools have moved the global polio eradication effort into its final phase in all but one country of the world. The conclusion reached this week in Geneva by the Advisory Committee on Polio Eradication (ACPE), the independent, technical oversight body of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, is that polio could be finished within the next six months everywhere, except in Nigeria.
UN calls for observance of days of security in Sudan during polio vaccination campaign
KHARTOUM - 6 July 2005 -- On the road to eradicate poliovirus, WHO, UNICEF and national and international NGOs are joining efforts with the Sudanese Ministry of Health in order to conduct an additional immunization campaign. WHO reported that as of 10 April 2005, 152 polio cases have been identified in 18 of Sudan’s 26 states since mid-2004 when polio first reappeared after a three-year hiatus.
Global health organizations recognize Rotary International’s unprecedented role in the fight to end polio worldwide
GENEVA/NEW YORK/ATLANTA, 21 June 2005 – On the occasion of Rotary International’s 100th anniversary, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative today paid tribute to the humanitarian service organization’s commitment to ending polio worldwide.
Somalia launches emergency polio immunization campaign
NAIROBI, Kenya - On 17 June, Somalia will launch a nationwide polio immunization campaign, to urgently protect the country's children from life-long paralysis caused by the disease. The campaign comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) Office for the Eastern Mediterranean issued a stark warning that Somalia could become re-infected with polio from nearby Ethiopia and Yemen, the latest two of 16 previously polio-free countries re-infected due to an ongoing outbreak in west and central Africa. Somalia has been polio-free since October 2002.
National Immunization Days to curb spread of polio outbreak in Yemen
AMMAN/ SANA’A, 2 June 2005 – With 179 cases of polio now confirmed in Yemen, the Yemen Ministry of Health has launched a nationwide immunization campaign to break the back of the epidemic and stop the virus travelling further.
Afghanistan polio immunization targets "missed" children
KABUL, 26 May 2005 – More than 2 million children in 64 districts of Afghanistan cut off by heavy snowfalls earlier in the year, along with districts in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, will be targeted in a special round of polio immunization starting Sunday 29 May. The campaign is a vital step in ensuring that no children are missed in the nationwide effort by the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF, WHO and partners to eradicate polio in the country.
Sudan continues effort to close down polio epidemic
Khartoum, 24 May 2005 -- In a continuing all-out effort to eradicate polio from Sudan, the Ministry of Health, backed by UNICEF, WHO and other organizations, today launched a three-day polio immunization campaign. The goal of this fourth round of National Immunization Days in 2005 is to immunize all children under five years, particularly those living in the poorest communities or those cut off by conflict. These children are the key to stopping the spread of the disease.
Six million polio vaccines arrive in Yemen
YEMEN, 20 May 2005 - Six million doses of polio vaccines procured by UNICEF arrived today in Sana'a for use in the second phase of the nationwide National Immunization Days scheduled to start from May 30 to immunise all of the country's children under the age of five years. The forthcoming round of NIDs has assumed special urgency in view of the reported polio cases.
Africa responds to close down polio epidemic
DAKAR/NAIROBI/HARARE, 13 May 2005 – Africa is responding aggressively to close down a polio epidemic that has spread the virus as far as Indonesia in recent weeks. Countries across the west and central belt and the Horn of Africa are participating in the third in a series of pan-continental immunization drives this year to immunize all children against the virus.
Nigeria making Progress towards polio eradication goal
ABUJA, 11 May 2005 – As Nigeria launches the third round of National Immunization Campaigns in 2005, a recent expert review of Nigeria’s polio eradication programme reaffirmed that the country is making strong progress towards the end-2005 goal of stopping polio.
Six million doses of vaccine shipped to Yemen for emergency polio outbreak response
GENEVA, 10 May 2005 - Six million doses of monovalent oral polio vaccine type 1 (mOPV1) have been shipped to Yemen, as part of emergency measures to stop the ongoing polio outbreak in the country.
UNICEF helps Indonesia fight back against polio
JAKARTA, 5 MAY 2005 - UNICEF is supporting the emergency vaccination of children in a district near Jakarta, Indonesia, on 5-6 May in an attempt to halt the spread of an outbreak of polio.
Stakes remain high in drive to wipe out polio in Africa
DAKAR/NAIROBI, 8 April 2005 – With the polio virus’ high-transmission season just months away, African countries are redoubling their efforts this week to reach 100 million children in the second of a series of three immunization drives scheduled for 2005. This second round, from 9-12 April, aims to contain the epidemic before the virus begins to spread most rapidly in the July to September high season.
Polio immunisations begin in Uganda
KAMPALA, 26 February 2005 – The first of two rounds of immunizations to protect more than a million children in Uganda against the threat of polio begins today in 15 districts of the country bordering Sudan, in a campaign led by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF, WHO and other partners.
Polio immunizations begin today in Uganda
KAMPALA, UGANDA, 26 February 2005 – The first of two rounds of immunizations to protect more than a million children in Uganda against the threat of polio begins today in 15 districts of the country bordering Sudan, in a campaign led by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF, WHO and other partners.
Coast-to-coast polio drive to counter epidemic in Africa
DAKAR/HARARE/GENEVA/EVANSTON, 25 February 2005 – A mass polio immunization drive starting today across Africa gained greater urgency from reports that a child has contracted polio in Ethiopia, the first case there in four years.
South Asia slashes polio cases by nearly half
GENEVA, 4 February, 2004 — The three countries on the Asian continent that still have polio are on target to end the disease this year, their health authorities said today.
Gates Foundation funds new polio vaccine to accelerate global eradication efforts
GENEVA/NEW YORK, 27 January – WHO and UNICEF announced today that they have received grants totalling $10 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and introduce a powerful new polio vaccine – a critical part of the strategy to end poliovirus transmission worldwide by the end of 2005.
African health leaders vow to keep polio eradication goal
GENEVA, 13 January 2005 — Following a year in which Africa grappled with an escalating polio epidemic, ministers of health of the key affected countries today concluded that the spread of polio was slowing in most countries.
Polio experts warn of largest epidemic in recent years, as polio hits Darfur
GENEVA, 22 June 2004 - Epidemiologists of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative today issued a stark warning that west and central Africa is on the brink of the largest polio epidemic in recent years. The warning follows confirmation today that a child was paralyzed on 20 May by polio in the Darfur region of the Sudan, a country which had not seen the disease in more than three years. The virus is closely linked genetically to poliovirus endemic to northern Nigeria, which has spread through Chad in recent months.
Global Polio Eradication Initiative welcomes OIC decision to step up effort to eradicate polio
MALAYSIA, 20 October 2003 – The spearheading partners in the global fight to eradicate polio – World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF – today welcomed a landmark resolution by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to wipe out polio from remaining polio-infected OIC countries.
Sebastião Salgado in NY to launch 'The End of Polio'
NEW YORK, 25 September 2003 - Celebrated Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado is in New York to launch The End of Polio: A Global Effort to End a Disease – a new book showcasing his two-year photographic record of the epic polio eradication campaign. (Media Advisory)
Final push in 2004 drive to combat polio in Afghanistan
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, 26 September 2004 – More than six million Afghan children under the age of five will be vaccinated against the life-threatening polio virus in the final, three day immunization campaign for 2004 that starts on Tuesday. Every province in Afghanistan will be covered, in a joint initiative between the Afghan Ministry of Health, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
Against the tide, Angola pushes for polio-free status
LUANDA, 27 August 2004 – In the same week as three African countries were re-infected with polio, Angola today takes another step towards being declared polio-free when it begins the immunisation of five million (under five) children.
The final countdown to a polio-free world
Polio is poised to become the first disease of the twenty-first century to be eradicated. Polio transmission levels are now at their lowest ever, with the virus beaten back to only a few remaining reservoirs in India, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and Niger, presenting an unprecedented opportunity to eradicate a disease that once crippled hundreds of thousands of children each year.
Asian and North African countries close to ending polio, announce accelerated plans to 'mop-up' new cases
GENEVA/NEW YORK, 17 May 2004 - Asian and North African countries could be polio-free within months, while west and central African countries must change track to stop the virus, according to data presented in Geneva today by Health Ministers from the world's six remaining polio-endemic countries. The ministers announced a two-pronged strategy to further accelerate eradication activities in both areas.
Amid conflict, a "Miraculous" victory over polio for Somalia
NAIROBI/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 28 March 2004 - With the last case of polio reported in 2002, Somalia has been removed from the list of polio-endemic countries. As a major polio immunization campaign begins, UNICEF is calling this achievement a “miraculous victory for children over conflict and devastation.”
Spread of wild polio battled in Sudan with additional immunization campaigns
Khartoum/Geneva/New York, 7 October, 2004 – With confirmation of eleven polio cases in Sudan in 2004, including in the capital city of Khartoum, the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, Rotary International and the UN Children’s Fund renewed their efforts to battle the crippling and sometimes fatal disease with additional immunization days beginning on Sunday.
UN Condemns the Detention of Health Workers in Sudan
New York, 1 April, 2002 - The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have condemned the recent detention of fourteen health workers in Sudan, saying the incident represents a major setback to the polio eradication effort in Sudan and other countries affected by conflict.
Last chance to see 'The End of Polio'
New York, 2 August 2002 - The End of Polio: A Global Effort to End A Disease, a photography exhibition by acclaimed Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, is on view until 16 August at the Aperture Foundation's Burden Gallery in New York. The show documents the massive effort driving the global campaign to secure a polio-free world.
Africa stakes the end of polio on mass immunization drive, but conflict halts campaign In Cote d’Ivoire
DAKAR/HARARE, 18 November 2004 - At a crucial stage of the global polio eradication effort, the second round in a series of massive cross-border polio immunizations starts this week in 24 African countries.
Statement from UNICEF on new polio case in Côte d' Ivoire
GENEVA/NEW YORK, 25 February 2004 - Côte d’Ivoire, polio-free for the last four years, has reported a polio case - and investigations are ongoing to confirm that the virus was imported from Nigeria. If confirmed, Côte d’Ivoire will be the eighth African country to report a child infected by Nigerian polio. This is further proof of the unnecessary suffering caused by the ongoing suspension of polio immunization activities in the Nigerian state of Kano. Children living in Kano State have been denied the polio vaccine since August 2003, creating an open channel for polio to spread back into the rest of Nigeria and across west and central Africa.
Europe declared polio-free after long campaign
Copenhagen 21 June 2002 -- The historic decision to certify the WHO European Region polio-free was announced today at a meeting of the European Regional Commission for Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (RCC) in Copenhagen. For some 870 million people living in the region's 51 Member States, this landmark decision is the most important public health milestone of the new millennium.
UNICEF and Partners Push Ahead With Polio and Measles Campaigns for Iraqi Children
GENEVA / NEW YORK, 18 February 2003 - In the shadow of ongoing international debate over a potential conflict in Iraq, health workers are expected to fan out across the country from 23-27 February to immunize more than 4 million Iraqi children against polio, UNICEF announced today. (Press Release)
Polio in West Africa at crisis point, says Bellamy
ACCRA/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 19 December 2003 – The alarming spread of polio in West Africa is now the biggest threat to global eradication of the disease, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy told leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) today.
15 million children to be immunized against polio in Nigeria as disease spreads
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 22 October 2003 - A new polio outbreak spreading from Nigeria to neighbouring countries is putting 15 million children at risk, requiring a massive immunization campaign across five countries in west and central Africa. Beginning today, hundreds of thousands of volunteers and healthworkers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Togo will aim to reach every child in those countries with polio vaccine in just three days.
Bellamy visits Gonaives, Haiti, where children tread water to survive
MEDIA ADVISORY, 26 September 2004 - UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy will visit Gonaives where UNICEF is carrying out intense programs to help children struggling to survive following Tropical Storm Jeanne. It is estimated that 155,000 children under 18 have been directly affected, including hundreds who died in the flooding. Many are homeless and living in shelters, all are vulnerable amidst appalling conditions.
African Union leaders launch largest-ever, cross-border polio campaign in history
DAKAR, GENEVA, NEW YORK, 2 October 2004 – More than 80 million children will be immunized against polio in 23 countries across sub-Saharan Africa (22 countries in West & Central Africa, plus Sudan), as part of the single-largest, public health campaign in history.
West Africa mobilizes for final assault against polio
DAKAR / NEW YORK / GENEVA, 23 February 2004 - One month after an emergency meeting of Health Ministers committed to end polio transmission in 2004, Africa is responding with a massive, synchronized polio immunization campaign, aiming to vaccinate 63 million children over the next few days.
Global Polio Eradication Partners applaud Rotary’s new US $88,557,000 pledge
Tuesday, 3 June 2003 - The Global Polio Eradication Partners applauded Rotary International for its US $88,557,000 pledge to polio eradication. Rotary International today announced the results of its year long campaign to raise funds for a polio-free world at its international convention in Brisbane, Australia. The news comes 30 days after the announcement that a critical funding gap threatens the global polio eradication initiative. (Press release)
Year's first nationwide polio immunizations to continue fight against debilitating diseases
KABUL, 13 April 2003 - A three-day immunization campaign against polio, the leading cause of disability in Afghanistan, is poised to start across the country this Tuesday, 15 April. This nation-wide operation is led by the Ministry of Health, with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). (News Note)
Fighting back against polio in Nigeria
ABUJA, November 16 2004 - Every child must be reached during the upcoming National Immunization Day (NID) in Nigeria which kicks off on 20 November.
Tactical shift in drive to end polio
Tuesday, 13 May 2003 - The Polio Eradication Initiative announced today that leading experts deem an unprecedented tactical shift essential in the campaign to free the world of polio. Immunization campaigns will be revised in 93 countries where polio transmission has already been stopped in order to commit more resources to the remaining seven polio-endemic countries, and six countries considered at high risk of reinfection. (Joint press release)
Kano State rejoins polio eradication campaign
Abuja 20 July 2004 – UNICEF and its partners congratulate the Kano State Government for making a decision in the best interest of Nigerian children. The country is now united in the fight against polio and has the unique opportunity to spare future generations from this crippling disease.
Canada provides additional funding to the final assault against polio
GENEVA/NEW YORK, 11 March 2004 - The spearheading partners in the global fight to eradicate polio – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF – today welcomed Canada’s announcement of an additional US $9.7 million (C $13 million) to support the global polio eradication campaign.
Afghanistan declares “National Day of Unity for Children”; polio eradication near
20 May 2003 – Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has designated today, Tuesday 20 May, “National Day of Unity for Children”. The announcement comes as the drive towards a polio-free Afghanistan enters the last mile with the start of the second “National Immunization Days” campaign for 2003, which aims to vaccinate 6 million Afghan children from 20-22 May. The National Day of Unity for Children commemorates the work done so far on immunization, education and other child rights and commits to several important initiatives for children. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, joined other UN agencies in welcoming the declaration. “Promoting unity through child rights is one long-term solution to problems of ethnic conflict and political instability,” she says, “But to be effective those rights must kept at the top of the agenda today and every day. That means taking action and delivering the services these children need.” (Press release)
Over a half-million children get polio vaccination in Northeast Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, 21 October 2003 - Over half a million children in Northeast Sri Lanka were immunized against polio last Saturday during the UNICEF-supported Subnational Immunization Day. The day marked the final round of this year's polio vaccinations, the first of which took place six weeks ago and achieved 96 per cent coverage.
First exhibition depicting massive global effort to eradicate polio opens in New York
New York, 13 May 2002 - The first ever photographic exhibition depicting the epic story behind the largest public health initiative in history - the bid to eradicate polio globally by 2005 - opens in New York on 16 May. The images, captured by world acclaimed Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado tell the polio eradication story in a way that it has never been told before - from depicting the ravages of the disease on children to the heroic efforts to deliver vaccine in conflict-ridden countries.
UNICEF applauds Japanese donation to eradicate polio
TOKYO/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 30 May 2002 - UNICEF today announced a donation of US $17 million from the Japanese Government for polio eradication and the control of other infectious diseases in six countries - Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria and Sudan. The contribution brings the total Japan has contributed this year to UNICEF for polio eradication and other child health initiatives to US $31.6 million.
Despite conflict, Horn of Africa one step from polio-free status
25 September, Nairobi, Kenya - With only two cases of polio paralysis to date in 2002 in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, the Horn of Africa is extremely close to being polio-free. However to finish the job, the Horn countries must continue mass polio immunization campaigns and urgently require the funding to carry these out.
UNICEF reports 4 million children vaccinated against polio in Iraq
BAGHDAD, 4 March 2003 - Preliminary results from UNICEF and the Iraqi Ministry of Health revealed today that 98 per cent of 4.2 million children under five were successfully reached in a nationwide polio immunization campaign last week. This result was achieved through the dedication of 14,000 volunteer Iraqi health workers from over 880 health clinics in the country. (News Note)
Polio pushed to lowest levels in history
NEW YORK, WASHINGTON/LONDON/GENEVA/NAIROBI, 16 April 2002 - With only 537 polio cases reported globally in 2001, efforts to eradicate the disease have driven the incidence of polio to its lowest point in history.
Ministers of Health: 'We will finish polio before year's end'
GENEVA, 15 January 2004 - Polio should be relegated to the history books within the next twelve months, Ministers of Health from the six remaining polio-endemic countries declared today at a high-level meeting in Geneva. The Ministers unveiled a bold new plan to immunize 250 million children multiple times during a series of massive polio immunization campaigns in 2004.
Sebastião Salgado publishes 'The End of Polio' as global eradication campaign goes down to the wire
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 30 September 2003 – Two years ago, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and world-renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado joined the largest public health initiative in history - the global effort, begun in 1988, to rid the world of poliomyelitis.
West Africa launches final assault on polio
New York/Geneva, 12 November 2002 -- With West African countries in the midst of vaccinating millions of children against polio, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, Aventis Pasteur, has donated 30 million doses of oral polio vaccine to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
India launches largest ever campaign to tackle polio epidemic
Wednesday 5 February 2003 - To combat the largest polio epidemic in recent history, on 9 February India will launch the largest ever mass immunization campaign against polio, targeting 165 million children. (Joint Press release)
Botswana launches emergency polio campaign
NEW YORK, 10 May 2004 - The Minister of Health of Botswana today kicked off a massive emergency immunization campaign in the southern African nation of Botswana, following the re-introduction of poliovirus into the country from Nigeria in February, after a 13-year absence. The campaign is deemed critical to protect the country's children from further spread of the poliovirus.
Routine immunization of children re-established across Iraq
Monday, 16 June 2003 – With support from UNICEF, the Iraqi Ministry of Health has begun the process of immunizing the country’s 4.2 million children under the age of five against preventable diseases such as polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles and tuberculosis. 200,000 children have been born in the past 90 days. The World Health Organization is also contributing to the reactivation of the Iraq’s Expanded Programme of Immunization by re-establishing the country’s vital disease surveillance system. (News note)
Polio campaign targets 2.1 million Ethiopian children
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 16 October 2003 – A house-to-house polio campaign targeting 2.1 million children under five years of age is being launched tomorrow by the Ministry of Health as part of the Sub-National Immunisation Days (SNIDs).
Rotary and UNICEF celebrate groundbeaking partnership for children
EVANSTON, ILLINOIS, 1 November, 2004 - Glenn Estess, President of Rotary International, and Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, said today that their groundbreaking partnership, which has brought polio to the brink of eradication, proves that the public and private sectors can unite to deliver incredible results for children.