With support from UN agencies, a nationwide polio immunization campaign was launched Tuesday in Yemen by the national health authorities, aiming to immunize five million children under the age of five,the World Health Organization(WHO) said Tuesday.

This is the first polio immunization campaign since April 2016. The security situation in Yemen has limited accessibility of many parts of the country, leaving many children at risk of vaccine preventable diseases.

According to WHO, more than 40, 000 health workers are taking part in the three-day campaign. In addition, religious and local council’s officials, as well as health educators are also mobilizing support for the campaign. High-risk groups, such as internally displaced persons and refugees, will also be reached.

“WHO is working closely with UNICEF and health authorities to keep Yemen polio-free. The threat of virus importation is serious and this campaign aims to curb any possible return of the virus to Yemen,” said Nevio Zagaria, WHO acting representative in Yemen.

“WHO and its partners will continue to support the health authorities in increasing the vaccination coverage across Yemen,” Zagaria added.

As the nearly two-year-old armed conflict in Yemen has been posing threats to the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), WHO has supported the program to keep polio vaccines safe through providing fuel, generators and solar-powered refrigerators to ensure the functionality of vaccine storage as well as cold chain transferring them from the war-torn areas into safer places.

“Despite huge security challenges, WHO is committed to supporting polio immunization campaigns and all activities of the EPI to maintain the polio-free status achieved by the country in 2006,” said Zagaria. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/

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