UNICEF receives emergency contribution of US$1.3 million from Japan for Somalia polio campiagn

UNICEF said it received an emergency contribution of US$1.3 million from the Government of Japan “to procure and distribute urgently needed polio vaccines for children in Somalia.” Sikander Khan, UNICEF Somalia Representative, commented, “Lack of access to routine immunization in Somalia has created the largest known reservoir of unvaccinated children in a single geographic area in the world. The total number of Somali children who had never been vaccinated between 2008 and 2012 was estimated to reach a million. The poliovirus in such a large reservoir has the potential to result in a catastrophic outbreak, the likes of which are beginning to be seen and as such constitutes an international emergency.” Currently, Somalia has the second lowest coverage of polio vaccination through routine immunization in the world at 47 per cent after Equatorial Guinea. The funds will cover more than 5 million doses of oral polio vaccines for two rounds of Supplementary Immunization Activities for November and December.