Polio Immunization drive launched in Tigray on African Vaccination Week

In a significant stride towards public health, Tigray regional state hosted the launch of the Polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) on April 23, coinciding with the African Vaccination Week.

This year’s vaccination campaign, launched by the Ministry of Health, together with Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners kicked off on the eve of the 14th National Vaccination Week. The campaign aims to administer Supplementary Immunization Activities to all children under five years old, providing them with Oral Polio Vaccine. Additionally, the campaign will emphasize Routine Immunization to ensure all children below one year of age receive timely vaccinations at health facilities.

Dr. Dereje Duguma, State Minister of Health graced the launch saying that the government is committed to work to ensure every child is vaccinated and reduce significantly zero dose children throughout the country. The campaign will reach over 1.5 million children at various launching sites and door to door in remote areas through mobile and transit teams across the region. 

A Logistical Review Committee has been established to oversee the campaign’s smooth execution, involving approximately 5,000 supervisors and coordinators across zonal, woreda, and kebele levels. The massive logistical effort will employ at least 15,000 team members and hundreds of vehicles to ensure wide-reaching immunization coverage across the region.

Reflecting on the global fight against polio, Teguest Yilma, Chair of the Rotary National Polio Plus Committee, remarked, “From witnessing 12 cases of wild poliovirus every 15 minutes in 1988 to just 12 cases worldwide in 2023, we’ve made remarkable progress. This achievement is a testament to the perseverance of countless health workers and the indisputable efficacy of vaccines.”

Despite the significant reduction in polio cases, the recent detection of new cases underscores the continuous threat the disease poses. “Polio anywhere is a threat everywhere,” Teguest cautioned, highlighting the need for ongoing vigilance to eradicate the disease entirely and prevent its resurgence.

The Tigray Polio NIDs event not only marks a pivotal moment in the local fight against polio but also serves as a reminder of the collective effort required to sustain health achievements and protect future generations.

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