IOM Supports Jordan Polio Vaccination Campaign
IOM has completed a campaign led by Jordan’s Ministry of Health (MoH) to immunize Syrian and Jordanian children against polio and raise awareness of the disease. The United States and UNHCR supported IOM’s participation in the campaign, which was carried out in partnership with WHO, UNICEF and NGOs.
The campaign began in seven of Jordan’s governorates, where over the first three days more than 175,000 children were vaccinated. Efforts were focused on the most remote and impoverished areas of the country. Over the second week, the campaign was rolled out inside refugee camps, where a total of 21,102 children were vaccinated. Of these, IOM nurses vaccinated 2,814.
Some 46 IOM staff, including nurses and non-medical support staff, took part in the campaign. IOM medical staff administered vaccines in Za’atari camp, while IOM’s operations department supplied logistics and transport for MoH doctors in Azraq and Emirates Jordanian Refugee Camps. Seven IOM and MoH doctors ran polio vaccination and tuberculosis awareness-raising sessions in seven governorates, which were attended by approximately 1,140 people.
IOM previously supported the MoH in polio vaccination campaigns in November and December 2013, and in March 2014. So far no cases of polio have been detected in Jordan, but the risk, due to the large influx of refugees, remains high. A high percentage of Syrian children have missed their routine vaccination as a result of ongoing crisis. The multiple vaccination campaigns in the region aim to prevent polio transmission between neighboring countries.
In 2013, over 35 cases of polio were reported in Syria. So far this year two cases have been detected in Iraq, and one in Syria. At the beginning of May 2014, WHO Director General Margaret Chan declared the international spread of wild poliovirus (WPV) a public health emergency of international concern, following the International Health Regulations, making it the third after Corona and H1N1. A number of temporary recommendations have been made by the WHO to address the public health emergency.
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