NEW YORK (October 25, 2013) - As Syria awaits confirmation of suspected polio cases in the east of the country, UNICEF has joined the World Health Organization and other partners in mounting a large-scale immunization effort aimed at protecting as many children as possible against polio, as well as other vaccine-preventable diseases, both in the country and across the region.
Inside Syria, a campaign led by the Ministry of Health began on October 24 targeting 2.4 million children with vaccines against polio, measles, mumps and rubella.
Some 500,000 children in Syria have not been vaccinated against polio in the past two years due to insecurity and access constraints. Prior to the conflict, immunization coverage in Syria was about 95 percent.
The conflict in Syria has caused immense displacement, with millions of children on the move, either inside the country or across borders into neighboring countries and beyond. As a result, routine immunization systems so critical to preventing childhood diseases have been disrupted, and children are now at far higher risk of diseases such as polio and measles.
UNICEF is mobilizing a huge supply operation to make sure that vaccines are in place across the region, and reaching out to partners across all sectors to help raise community awareness of the importance of vaccinating children.
Multiple, supplemental immunization campaigns against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases will take place inside Syria and across the region through the end of the year.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.
For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, firstname.lastname@example.org