We must each do our part to ensure that all children under the age of five are immunized
BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (Republic of), October 25, 2021 / Groupe APO / –
On October 22, 2021, Ethiopia launched a polio vaccination campaign with the new oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2) targeting more than 17 million children under five in an effort to end the circulation of vaccine-derived poliovirus. The campaign was officially launched by the Ministry of Health and polio partners in Hawassa, Sidama, alongside the commemoration of World Polio Day under the theme “Someday. One Focus: Ending Polio: Keeping the promise of a polio-free world ”.
Speaking on behalf of WHO and UNICEF, WHO Deputy Representative in Ethiopia, Dr Rose-Mary Nonhlanhla Dlamini, stressed the need to ensure that every child, everywhere in Ethiopia, is vaccinated. She called on vaccinators to work extra diligently, and parents and caregivers to present their children for vaccinations.
During the event, Ms. Tsinukal Melkamu, a polio survivor, shared her story of living with polio and expressed hope that no other child will face the challenges she has faced due to the polio. Ms Tsinukal also received a thank you letter from the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, for sharing her life experience during the 71st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa in August 2021.
In 2020, the WHO Africa Region was certified wild polio-free, but vaccine-derived poliovirus continues to circulate in underserved communities.
With the aim of ensuring the eradication of all forms of polio, the GPEI introduced the new OPV type 2 vaccine (nOPV2) as a new essential tool in the fight against circulating poliovirus type 2 derived from a vaccine (cVDPV2).
With the launch of the nOPV2 vaccine, Ethiopia joins five other pioneering countries, Benin, Republic of Congo, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone which have already introduced the vaccine.
The Minister of State for Health, the Honorable Dr Dereje Duguma, urged health workers, partners, religious leaders, parents, caregivers and other stakeholders to support this campaign. “We must each do our part to ensure that all children under the age of five are immunized,” he further reminded vaccinators and communities to be attentive to measures to prevent COVID-19 during administration of nOPV2 vaccines. WHO and UNICEF have supported the government on the ground to meet the readiness criteria for the introduction of nVPO2, and in the planning of this national campaign, including the development of all preparedness tools and guidelines and campaign implementation, providing budget and training on various aspects of the campaign and post-campaign. campaign activities and deploying over 100 technical experts to regions and areas to support monitoring and supervision during campaign implementation.
The Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF and other polio partners reaffirmed their collective commitment to deliver on the promise of a polio-free Ethiopia and world for current and future generations.
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