Ethiopia’s Polio Vaccination Campaign targets over 17mln Children

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia on Friday began a four-day long polio vaccination campaign targeting all children under the age of five nationwide.

The campaign officially began in Hawass city of Sidama Region in the presence of state minister of health Dr. Dereje Duguma.

Vaccinators are now moving from house to house for the campaign, in addition to using temporary fixed sites in camps for internally displaced people (IDP camps) and transit areas.

Dr. Dereje said the campaign would complement the regular provision of the vaccine as the government pushes to bring the circulation of poliovirus in the country to an end.

The nationwide vaccination drive, which will continue until October 25, started on the Day the World Polio Day commemorated across the globe and partners of the ministry of health pledged to continue supporting Ethiopia’s effort to eradicate the virus.

In a joint statement on Friday, WHO, UNICEF and ROTARY reaffirmed their commitment to continue delivering on the promise of a polio-free world for current and future generations.

In 1988, the world committed to eradicating wild polio virus, and at present five out of the six WHO regions are certified free of wild poliovirus with wild polio virus reported only from two endemic countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan.

On 25 August 2020, the independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication officially declared that the WHO African Region that constitutes 47 member states is free of wild poliovirus.

According to the joint statement, though 99.9 percent of polio has been wiped out with oral polio vaccine, other forms of the virus continue to circulate in rare cases when not enough children are reached.

Ethiopia launched the vaccination drive to overcome this and immunize its over 17 million under-five children, according to officials.