UNICEF Set to Vaccinate 41 Million Children against Polio
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said a major health campaign is underway in the Lake Chad Basin area to vaccinate over 41m children against polio to contain the recent outbreak of the disease in North-east Nigeria,
and that nearly 39,000 health workers were deployed across Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Niger, Cameroon and the Central African Republic to deliver polio vaccines in areas at high-risk for the virus during five rounds of coordinated vaccination campaigns, and UNICEF is procuring the vaccines and engaging the public through mass media and grassroots mobilization.
Speaking on this, Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said “The re-emergence of polio after two years with no recorded cases is a huge concern in an area that’s already in crisis. The ongoing conflict has now displaced 2.6m people, devastated provision of healthcare and left more than 4m people in North-east Nigeria in crisis and emergency food security levels. In the three worst-hit Nigerian states, 400,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year, and Polio vaccination teams in parts of Borno state are conducting simultaneous malnutrition screening to identify cases of severe acute malnutrition in children less than five years and refer them to treatment programmes as findings from the first rounds of outreach screening have confirmed high rates of severe acute malnutrition, adding that Of the $158m needed for UNICEF’s emergency response in the region, only $50.4m has so far been received,