Iraq vaccinates 2 million kids towards polio

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Dec 18, 2020

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Iraqi well being authorities, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, launched Nov. 30 a mass polio vaccination marketing campaign concentrating on greater than 1.9 million kids underneath the age of 5.

Iraq had accomplished 1.7 million vaccinations by Dec. 16, Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi instructed Al-Monitor.

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Adham Ismail, a WHO consultant, mentioned, “We must continue to do everything in our power to protect children from suffering, and from death due to diseases.”

The marketing campaign, nonetheless, appears to have stirred an distinctive controversy, after the Global Polio Eradication Initiative beneficial April 3 to droop polio vaccination campaigns to be able to assist cease the unfold of the novel coronavirus. A latest scientific research revealed in Science journal reported that the virus that causes COVID-19 is bringing the worldwide marketing campaign to eradicate polio in grave hazard.

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The director of the Public Health Department on the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Riyadh al-Halfi, instructed Al-Monitor in regards to the coronavirus disaster results on vaccination packages. “The coronavirus pandemic caused the postponement of the spring vaccination campaign. But after the epidemiological situation in the country improved as a result of the continuous decline in confirmed cases and deaths, and in light of the importance of completing vaccinations to cover areas that need the polio vaccine, the Ministry of Health was required to carry out a noncomprehensive national campaign, targeting in particular areas at risk with poor coverage.”

The Iraqi Health Ministry had admitted on March 30, 2014,  the primary case of polio in Baghdad, as the primary case resurging in 14 years. The final confirmed case was introduced in 2000. Meanwhile, press reviews in 2019 spoke of a comeback of the illness in Iraq, and the an infection of a kid with the illness on account of a virus from an expired oral vaccination.

Halfi argued that talks in regards to the unfold of polio in Iraq is inaccurate, because the nation has been freed from polio since 2001, besides for 2 circumstances coming from overseas in 2014. “Since then, Iraq has not recorded any cases of polio.”

“This is evidenced by the fact that Iraq obtained a certificate from the WHO confirming it is free of polio,” he famous. “These campaigns are carried out every now and then to keep away from the return of the illness amid the existence of a number of threat elements that make this attainable.”

Halfi added that the latest marketing campaign was purported to be composed of two nationwide campaigns — one within the spring and one other one in autumn, however the coronavirus pandemic impeded the spring marketing campaign. “We had to content ourself with one national campaign, but it does not cover all children. We chose areas that are more at risk than others. About 1.8 million children have been vaccinated. This is the intended goal of the campaign.”

Faleh al-Ziyadi, a member of parliament, instructed Al-Monitor, “The Ministry of Health focuses when implementing the polio vaccination campaign on those under the age of five in sectors, cities and places with low health coverage in all parts of the country.”

He known as for supporting the nationwide authorities efforts and praised Iraq’s readiness and preparation for any attainable reemergence of polio. “There is a significant interest in health, high coverage rates of vaccinations and accurate epidemiological monitoring and good investigation,” he mentioned.

Ziyadi famous that after the emergence of infections in nations within the Mediterranean area, together with Pakistan and Yemen, it has turn out to be essential to implement the vaccination marketing campaign, in collaboration with the WHO and UNESCO.

“More money should be allocated to the Iraqi Ministry of Health to improve children’s treatment and preventive services,” he mentioned. “The ministry must focus on mother and child care services, especially after indications of reluctance by families to visit health centers due to the coronavirus pandemic. This also comes in light of an unprecedented increase in the rates of birth defects in most Iraqi hospitals due to environmental pollution.”

Meanwhile, Haider Salman, an official on the Ministry of Health within the Basra Health Department, praised the nation’s proactive steps to stop polio from reemerging. He instructed Al-Monitor, “The steady and a number of vaccination packages by the Health Ministry — which is eager to implement packages to eradicate extremely harmful communicable illnesses, together with polio — contributed to creating polio the least prevalent illness in Iraq, on account of the vaccination coverage in line with mounted schedules and stable sources.” 

He famous, “Iraqi doctors in general were able to raise awareness among people of the seriousness of polio being the most deadly and disabling disease among children.”

Salman added that the latest marketing campaign included roughly 2 million kids. “In 2019, there were two batches — the first in April of around 5.6 million children, then in November of more than 3.1 million children. These schedules are determined in cooperation with the WHO and the Iraqi Public Health Department.”

However, the dearth of well being providers and hospitals in Iraq stays a trigger for concern. Rafid Alaa al-Khuzai, a guide doctor, instructed Al-Monitor, “Displacement, the troubled financial and political situation, and rampant corruption will cause the collapse of the preventive medicine system, and thus the emergence of polio cases after a long absence from Iraq.”

In order for the mass vaccination marketing campaign to proceed in Iraq, in cooperation with worldwide organizations and with the assist of developed nations, Iraq have to be extra open and extra capable of win the boldness of the worldwide group. Failing to take action, the nation will be unable to beat any potential well being crises.

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