News: Somali regional state to vaccinate over half million under 5 children against polio

mOPV2 vaccination in Fafan zone of Somali region

Addis Abeba, August 23/2019 – Five zones of Somali region of Ethiopia and, Somalia/Somaliland and Puntland from the WHO Africa and Eastern Mediterranean regions respectively jointly launched the synchronized cross border polio vaccination campaign where the Somali region alone targets to reach over half million (586, 511) children whose age are 0-59 months from the five high risk zones namely Fafan, Jarar, Dollo, Erar and Nogob.

The overall synchronized target areas involved in Somalia and Ethiopia are Puntland and all regions in Somaliland except one and five zones of Somali region respectively. This made the total target population 1.6 million (Somalia 1.1 M & Ethiopia 586,511).

Mr Abdirazak Seid, Honorable Advisor for the Somali Regional President Office, Dr. Jahwar Yusuf, Deputy Head of Somali Regional Health Bureau, Mr. Abdihakim Sheik Hassen, Chief Administrator of Fafan Zone, Mukhtar Abib, Mayor of Togowajale City Administration, Sheik Ahmed Abi, the religious leader, and Garad Kulmiye, clan leader and Goodwill Ambassador of Immunization for Somali region and partners from WHO, UNICEF, CORE Group, Rotary and save the children were in attendance.

Speaking during the launching event, “Mr. Christopher Alexander, from WHO Regional Office and Coordinator for the GPEI Horn of Africa Office stated that “This synchronized effort is an important activity and really a milestone since it is the first time that the two regions of WHO (AFRO & EMRO) come together to fight the disease. We must make sure no child is unvaccinated.  We need to show the commitment that we showed here in the joint launching in the ground to make sure that every community of every child must be vaccinated. Remember the vaccine is a right for a child. We have no reason to let any child paralyzed because of the polio. Vaccine is available, we are committed, so let us reach every child where the child is.”

Polio is a highly infectious, debilitating disease which affects children and causes permanent paralysis. Polio is not curable, and can only be prevented by vaccination. Families and communities must ensure their children are vaccinated both during polio campaigns and through routine immunization. The Horn of Africa is currently in emergency with imported poliovirus of circulating vaccine derived polioviruses placing polio eradication as unfinished business. Circulating vaccine Derived-Polio Virus (cVDPV) outbreak was reported recently from Somaliland and the first-round quick response has been conducted in July 2019. Since then four more cases have been reported in Puntland in Somalia, one in Bosaso district, one in Ufyan district, one on the border with Somali region in Ethiopia and one in Dollo Zone Bokh Wareda in Somali Region of Ethiopia. WHO

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