Tuesday, 23 May 2017 16:29

Hundreds of volunteers vaccinate displaced children from Mosul and other underserved areas in Ninewa Governorate

Baghdad, 23 May 2017 – More than 1900 health workers and volunteers on Sunday 21 May, 2017 kick started a mass polio vaccination campaign targeting approximately 332 000 children from conflict affected Mosul and other underserved areas in Ninewa Governorate.

The 5 days campaign organized by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ninewa, Dahuk and Erbil Directorates of Health and supported by WHO and UNICEF is targeting children from Mosul aged 0 to 5 years residing in 9 districts that include newly accessible areas in Ninewa Governorate and 16 internally displaced persons camps in Ninewa and the neighboring governorates of Erbil and Dahuk. Vaccination teams are making special efforts to reach every child through house-to-house/tent to tent visits.

"This is an emergency campaign aimed at boosting the immune system of children from Mosul who for more than 2 years had limited access to vaccine preventable diseases including polio," said Mr Musani Altaf, WHO Representative in Iraq. “Accessibility and massive disruption to health services in conflict-affected Mosul deprived children of essential childhood vaccinations. With more children now accessible, WHO and its partners are doing everything possible to maintain the gains attained over the years while prioritizing Iraq polio free status,” added Musani.

“All children have a right to access quality health care, unfortunately children in Mosul have been deprived of this right and many others for too long. Now is the time to act to ensure we can support them with healthcare and other urgent needs, including education, water and sanitation services to quickly re-normalize their lives,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative to Iraq.

Led by MOH, a strong partnership with all stakeholders supporting Polio Eradication Initiative in Iraq has been established and maintained. During this campaign, MOH deployed vaccinators and Oral Polio Vaccines, while WHO provided technical support in the training of vaccinators and their incentives, transportation and the independent monitoring costs. UNICEF supported the community mobilization and awareness and procurement of Vitamin A supplement.

To improve the quality and impact of the campaign, WHO supported the Iraq Red Crescent Society (IRCS), identified to monitor and assess the coverage of the campaign; the findings will be used to guide improvements to reach more children by enabling corrective action both during this campaign and in planning for the next rounds.

Iraq remains one of the highest risk countries for polio eradication in the Middle East due to the increased number of vulnerable populations living in difficult conditions. These include internally displaced populations, refugees, communities dwelling in slums and vast portions of the country where insecurity hinders health outreach activities.

For more information, please contact:

Pauline Ajello, Communications Officer-WHO, Mobile: +964 7510101460
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ajyal Sultany, Communications Officer- WHO, Mobile: +964 7510101469
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Laila Ali, Communication Specialist | Media and External Relations- UNICEF,
Mobile:+ 964 (0) 7809258542 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sharon Behn Nogueira, Chief of Communications, UNICEF. Mobile:
+964 (0) 7827820238 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNICEF, WHO

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