Fight against Polio strengthens as UN announces vaccination campaign across Africa

  • March 27, 2017

In what could be considered one of the largest of its kind vaccination campaigns across west and Central Africa, more than 116 million children are set to be immunised against the deadly disease, according to a United Nations agency.

The campaign that began on March 25, 2017 will continue till March 27, to fulfil the objective of vaccinating young children under the age of five in 13 African nations: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

According to the press release, “Volunteers and health workers will work up to 12 hours per day, travelling on foot or bicycle, in often stifling humidity and temperatures in excess of 40°C. Each vaccination team will carry the vaccine in special carrier bags, filled with ice packs to ensure the vaccine remains below the required 8°C.”

Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, said, “Every single country on the continent was endemic to polio, twenty years ago, and every year, more than 75 000 children were paralysed for life by this terrible disease. Thanks to the dedication of governments, communities, parents and health workers, this disease is now beaten back to this final reservoir.

“Polio eradication will be an unparalleled victory, which will not only save all future generations of children from the grip of a disease that is entirely preventable – but will show the world what Africa can do when it unites behind a common goal,” said UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier.

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