UNICEF congratulates Tanzania on being polio free
DAR ES SALAAM, United Republic of Tanzania, 18 December 2015 – The United Republic of Tanzania has been certified as polio free.
This achievement in turning the tide against polio is the result of political will and government leadership in the country. Working with the government and through the assistance of partners like UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), Tanzania was able to up the fight against polio and reach every child with immunization services. Coordinated efforts with communities comprised routine vaccination at health facilities, and specific efforts in high-risk areas targeting hard-to-reach population. Other approaches included training support to thousands of front-line workers in communities as well as campaigns and polio surveillance activities.
UNICEF Tanzania’s Deputy Representative, Mr. Paul Edwards, commended the Government for their continued efforts in making the lives of children in Tanzania better and healthier. “We congratulate the Government on their achievement for reaching every child with vaccines,” he said.
While announcing the country’s achievement to the media, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Donan Mmbando, explained that polio is a disease that causes physical disabilities and death if not well managed.
“The last case of polio was in 1996. This does not mean polio surveillance will not go on, it will continue. Vaccine coverage has been maintained at 90 per cent nationally; this has enabled attainment of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4,” he said.
The country, through the task force committee, submitted a report for requesting polio free certification to the African Region Certification Commission for polio eradication at the end of November.
“I would like to congratulate all health workers, development partners such UNICEF, WHO, and GAVI, for without this collaborative effort we wouldn’t have reached a milestone. The Government will keep on investing in immunization services to ensure availability of reliable immunization services,” said Dr. Mmbando.
“UNICEF will continue to work with the Government and its partners to ensure all children are reached and are glad to note polio vaccination will continue. We cannot let down our guard, as there could be a re-emergence and we must be vigilant,” said Mr. Edwards.
Tanzania is now working towards the attainment of a measles free status.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF Tanzania and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/tanzania.