YANGON 24 October 2018 – World Polio Day was celebrated for the 6th time in Myanmar with the collaboration of the Ministry of Health and Sports, Central Expanded Programme on Immunization, Rotary International, World Health Organization and UNICEF. From 2001 to 2016, the Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) celebrated the day as ‘National Immunization Day for Polio’ with vaccination activities across the country. This year, World Polio Day is commemorated in line with the global theme of ‘One Day. One Focus: Ending Polio’.
Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease caused by polio virus which spreads from person to person through infected fecal matter entering the mouth. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis or even death. Although it can affect persons of all ages, the disease mainly affects children below the age of five, whose immunity to diseases is still weak. One confirmed wild polio virus case is considered an outbreak.
Myanmar has been free from wild poliovirus since 2007. In March 2014, Myanmar celebrated a landmark achievement-certified as Poliomyelitis Free by Regional Certification Commission for Poliomyelitis. To sustain this progress and protect all children from polio, the MoHS has committed 26 percent of vaccine cost from the Government budget per year with plans to cover 100 per cent by the year 2025. "Each valuable vaccine is the right of each child living in the boundary of Myanmar. It takes a range of vaccines that cost US$28 to fully immunize a single child and all vaccines are intended to reach all children without leaving a single child behind," said Dr. Myint Htwe, the Union Minister for Health and Sports. “I would like to encourage parents to vaccinate their children with polio vaccines, both oral drop and injection, and to be vigilant to the threat of recurring polio.”
Sandii Lwin, Chair of the National Polio Plus Committee for Rotary in Myanmar, said; “Polio eradication is our priority flagship programme. Rotary members in Yangon are among millions to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio. We are delighted to join our polio partners in marking World Polio Day.”
Dr. Stephan Paul Jost, WHO Representative for Myanmar, said; “Continuous efforts are required from all partners including MoHS, WHO, UNICEF, Rotary, CDC, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other local partners in sustaining high population immunity and sensitive Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance.”
“To ensure Myanmar maintains its polio free status, it is essential to reach every child with polio vaccines. UNICEF is working with the Government to support frontline workers including ethnic health organizations and the private sector to keep polio out of Myanmar and eventually eliminate other vaccine preventable diseases,” said Ms. June Kunugi, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar.
In the event, around 800 people rode bicycles in the form of community mobilization. There was also an exhibition booth on polio and other immunization-related information.
Detailed information on the Central Expanded Programme on Immunization page: https://www.facebook.com/cepimyanmar
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.
In Myanmar, WHO is working to improve the health systems in general through technical support, capacity building, coordination of emergency responses and implementation of various health programmes. WHO’s priorities in Myanmar are well aligned with priorities of Ministry of Health and sports.
For more information please contact:
Dr. Than Tun Aung, Deputy Director General, Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Sports, 095408973
Dr. Aye Mya Chan Thar, Assistant Director, Central Expanded Programme on Immunization, Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Sports, 09428006027
UNICEF in Myanmar
UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation.
For more information about UNICEF and its work in Myanmar: