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Polio vaccination campaign to target 460,000 children

The National Immunisation Programme under the leadership of the Ministry of Health (MoH), with the support of UNICEF and WHO, today launch a 10-day sub-national polio vaccination campaign in 13 provinces and 90 districts to vaccinate about 460,000 children from newborns up to five years of age.
According to the UNICEF Laos office, more than 7,200 volunteers and 1,400 health workers will ensure that all children in this age group in the selected provinces and districts receive the two drops of oral polio vaccine.
Children less than 12 months of age who previously missed their planned vaccination will also receive routine immunisation vaccines. About 210 staff members of MoH and partner organisations will monitor the activities with the aim of reaching every

child, particularly the most vulnerable and those in the most remote areas.
Throughout the campaign period, vaccines will be provided at health centres, as well as district and provincial hospitals, kindergartens, markets and bus stations.
There will be outreach sessions, including house-to-house visits to identify and vaccinate children in high-risk areas, and special sessions in rice fields and other farm areas.
As of May 2017, Laos was officially no longer infected with circulating-vaccine derived polio virus type 1 (cVPDV1).
After the last outbreaks in 2015 and 2016, the country has now been without cases for over 24 months, with the last case reported in January 2016. Thus, the outbreak has ceased as per the conclusions of the response assessment team, UNICEF Laos reported.
Minister of Health Dr Bounkong Syhavong said “With partners’ support, Laos has undertaken important outbreak response efforts, including multiple rounds of supplementary immunisation activities, expanded social mobilisation to raise community awareness, and enhanced acute flaccid paralysis surveillance activities.”
“However, the threat still exists as polio can spread from endemic countries. We must continue to strengthen routine immunisation to ensure all children are protected,” Dr Bounkong added. The commitment of parents, village heads, teachers, health workers, government officials and partners is crucial for a successful campaign.
UNICEF Deputy Representative, Laos Office, Myo Zin Nyunt said “UNICEF is committed to support the Lao government in order to protect every child from vaccine preventable diseases. This is why we are facilitating the procurement and supply of vaccines and supporting advocacy at different levels, from national to village level, working hand in hand with traditional and village leaders.”
“In addition, UNICEF will support social mobilisation activities with the production of information, education and communication materials that are culturally appropriate and the dissemination of messages through different platforms, such as radio, television and loudspeakers, among others.”
WHO Laos Office Representative Dr Juliet Fleischl, said “Thanks to the strong collaboration with member states, donors and partners, we are on the verge of totally eradicating polio globally.”
“This sub-national campaign in Laos will contribute to the global goal of polio eradication and will also help to sustain the interruption of poliovirus transmission in the country, with strengthened surveillance and immunisation systems.”
“We are one step closer to eradication thanks to the leadership of the government and the support of our donors and development partners.”
Routine vaccination coverage for the third polio dose in 2017 was 85 percent lower than the 90 percent target needed to create adequate population immunity.
The routine vaccination coverage segregated by district shows that the 90 targeted districts for this campaign have not achieved 90 percent coverage.


ByTimes Reporters
(Latest Update
March 26,

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