UNICEF-supported national immunization campaign protects children in Aleppo against polio

In partnership with WHO, reaching over 400,000 children despite COVID-19 restrictions, thanks to generous contributions from (FCDO), GAVI and (GPEI)

UNICEF
28 October 2020

To protect children under the age of five against polio, and despite COVID-19 restrictions, UNICEF, WHO and partners launched a five-day national immunization campaign, aiming to reach over 2.3 million children across Syria with lifesaving vaccines.

In the governorate of Aleppo alone, around 800 health workers took part in the campaign, vaccinating children in over 60 fixed health centres and through 100 mobile health teams to ensure children in rural and heard-to-reach areas also receive the vaccines, with an overall planned reach of over 400,000. For the first time, following respite in violence, children in newly accessible areas in western rural Aleppo also had access to this essential health service.

female health worker giving baby drops
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Antwan Chnkdji
Shams, one month, receives her first ever vaccination against polio at a health centre in Nubol, northern rural Aleppo, as part of the five-day immunization campaign supported by UNICEF, WHO and partners, aiming to protect over 2.3 million children across Syria.
male health worker scanning women's temperature
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Antwan Chnkdji
To ensure the safety of health workers, caregivers and children during the national immunization campaign against polio, all visitors must have their temperature checked before entering the centre, as a preventative measure against the spread of COVID-19.
UNICEF staff talking to two women carrying a child
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Antwan Chnkdji
Esraa Al-Khalaf, UNICEF Health officer in Aleppo talks to mothers in Nubol, northern rural Aleppo, about their children’s vaccination schedule and answers their questions on the safety and importance of the vaccines, as part of the five-day national immunization campaign supported by UNICEF, WHO and partners, aiming to protect over 2.3 million children across Syria.
woman carrying a baby
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Antwan Chnkdji
“I’ve learned the importance of keeping my daughter up-to-date with her vaccine schedule and I will make sure to never miss one,” says Fayza’s mother, after her daughter, two, received her vaccine against polio at a health centre in Nubol, northern rural Aleppo, as part of the five-day immunization campaign supported by UNICEF, WHO and partners, aiming to protect over 2.3 million children across Syria.

“I’ve learned the importance of keeping my daughter up-to-date with her vaccine schedule and I will make sure to never miss one,”

Fayza’s mother
men carrying box into tent
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Antwan Chnkdji
A UNICEF-supported mobile health team setup a vaccination point inside a tent in Fafin camp, northern rural Aleppo. The camp is now home to children and families who have been displaced from Afrin since 2018.
female health worker marking child's finger
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Antwan Chnkdji
Manan, 4, gets his pinky marked as an indication that he has received his vaccination against polio administered by a mobile health team at Fafin camp, northern rural Aleppo, as part of the five-day national immunization campaign supported by UNICEF, WHO and partners.
woman carrying a baby
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Antwan Chnkdji
“Living in a crowded camp, I fear for my son’s health and always make sure to keep him up-to-date with all his vaccines,” says Ahmad’s mother who was displaced with her family from Afrin back in 2018, seeking safety at Fafin camp in northern rural Aleppo.

“Living in a crowded camp, I fear for my son’s health and always make sure to keep him up-to-date with all his vaccines,”

Ahmad’s mother
female health worker giving vaccine drops to baby carried by woman
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Antwan Chnkdji
Ahmad, 4 months, receives his vaccination against polio administered by a mobile health team at Fafin camp, northern rural Aleppo, as part of the five-day national immunization campaign supported by UNICEF, WHO and partners.

Thanks to generous contributions from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), GAVI, the vaccine alliance, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), UNICEF provided vaccines and accompanying Vitamin A supplements, as well as necessary cold chain equipment to ensure the safety of the vaccines. Prior to the immunization campaign, UNICEF also supported community outreach volunteers going door-to-door to talk to families about the safety and importance of the vaccines.