POLIO [to 26 July 2014]
Report: Polio – Outbreak in the Middle East :: War in Syria Opens the Door to an Old Enemy
July 2014 12 pages
Excerpt from WHO announcement
Amman/ Cairo, 22 July 2014 – In a report released today, WHO and UNICEF announced completion of the first phase of the biggest polio vaccination campaign ever undertaken in the history of the Middle East; 25 million children under the age of five have been reached in seven countries in 37 rounds.
“Despite immense challenges and the desperate conditions around the region, children were vaccinated from three to six times. This gives a glimpse of hope and is largely thanks to thousands of unsung heroes: committed health workers and volunteers who undertook such a formidable task all over the region and inside Syria braving dangers to provide the polio vaccination to children,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
The report attributes the return of polio to Syria after 14 years to the following factors: disruption of routine immunization; severe damage to Syria’s health infrastructure; continuous population displacement within Syria and across its borders; and missed children…
“Polio has forced its way back to Syria, adding to what was already a humanitarian disaster. We got to a point where we had to work with very limited resources to defeat what had been a long forgotten enemy in this region: one that does not know borders or checkpoints and can travel fast, infecting children not just in war torn Syria but across the region” said Chris Maher, WHO Manager for Polio Eradication and Emergency Support…
The report says that a number of critical actions must be undertaken to end the polio spread in the region:
:: Grant immediate and unhindered access to hard-to-reach children under the age of five inside Syria.
:: Guarantee the safe passage of health workers and protect medical vehicles and other cold chain equipment inside Syria.
:: Raise awareness on polio and the need to vaccinate all children under the age of five around the region multiple times.
:: Secure funding to undertake repeated vaccination rounds by the end of 2014…
GPEI Update: Polio this week – As of 23 July 2014
Global Polio Eradication Initiative
Editor’s Excerpt and text bolding
Full report: http://www.polioeradication.org/Dataandmonitoring/Poliothisweek.aspx
:: Polio vaccination campaigns reaching more than 25 million children multiple times in the Middle East since October have helped slow the outbreak: new report from UNICEF and WHO emphasises that the second phase of outbreak response focuses on reaching those children who continue to be missed.
:: In the Horn of Africa, further efforts are on to intensify the outbreak response, following confirmation of new cases from Somalia last week. These cases underscore the risk that ongoing low-level poliovirus transmission continues to pose to children across the region, and of the urgent need to fully stop the outbreak rapidly completely.
:: Khost province borders Pakistan, where communities displaced by military action have been leaving North Waziristan, Pakistan. Health authorities in surrounding districts of Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan have been vaccinating displaced children: more than 35,000 displaced children under the age of 10 are reported to have received a dose of bivalent oral polio vaccine (bivalent OPV) as they entered the Afghan provinces of Paktyka and Khost.
:: One new circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) case was reported in the past week, with onset of paralysis on 13 June from Borno. The total number of cVDPV2 cases for 2014 is now 14. It is the most recent cVDPV2 case in the country.
:: Five new WPV1 cases were reported in the past week, three from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA – two from North Waziristan and one from South Waziristan), one from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and one from Gadap, greater Karachi, Sindh. This brings the total number of WPV1 cases in the country to 99 for 2014. The case from South Waziristan is the most recent in the country, with onset of paralysis on 28 June.
:: In order to protect those displaced by the military action in North Waziristan, people of all ages continue to be vaccinated against polio at transit points within the country (over 394,000 vaccinated to date) and during several rounds of house-to-house immunization campaigns in the host communities (over 500,000 vaccinated in the first two rounds, with a third round just concluded)
:: The entire population of Equatorial Guinea, regardless of age, will be vaccinated in a campaign starting on 26 July. A house-to-house search for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases will be conducted during the campaign; a similar search is currently taking place in Gabon. Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), Gabon and the Republic of Congo also have mass vaccination campaigns planned for July.