WHO, UNICEF support Myanmar’s polio vaccination campaign

Nay Pyi Taw: The World Health (WHO) Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) support Myanmar’s Ministry of Health to conduct a polio vaccination campaign in 102 townships across the country, a joint statement from WHO and UNICEF said on Monday.

The campaign targeting 1.4 million children under five years of age will start off in early December, with rounds of vaccination conducted across 15 high risks townships in Rakhine, Chin, Magway, Bago and Ayeyarwady.

The first three rounds of the campaign, scheduled December 5-7, December 26-28 and January 16-18, will target all children under five in these 15 high risk townships across the country.

Two additional rounds of polio immunisation will be conducted in another 87 townships in January-February 2016.

In Rakhine state, the routine immunisation coverage has been below 80 percent for the last years.

In 2014, in some of the state’s townships only 27 percent of children received the three recommended doses of oral polio vaccine.

In total, more than 3.8 million doses of oral polio vaccine will be provided to reach 1.4 million children under five years old.

The emergence of such cases of vaccine-derived polio virus is due to low immunisation coverage.

The South East Asia Region, including Myanmar, was declared polio-free in 2014.

Meanwhile, WHO and UNICEF urge the government to expand routine immunisation against all antigens to protect children against preventable and debilitating diseases.