An Important Opportunity Amid a Crisis

Vaccinating those displaced from North Waziristan

Families and children fleeing the military operations in North Wazirstan receive polio drops at roadside vaccination points, June 24, 2014. © UNICEF/Mian Khursheed
Families and children fleeing the military operations in North Wazirstan receive polio drops at roadside vaccination points, June 24, 2014.
© UNICEF/Mian Khursheed

17 July 2014 – The displacement of more than 900,000 people from North Waziristan in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) increases the risk that polio will spread, as the virus travels with people as they move out to other parts of the country. Due to a ban on polio vaccination since June 2012, the area has suffered 55 of the country’s 94 cases in 2014.

However, this displacement also creates an important opportunity. For the first time in more than two years, vaccinators can reach large numbers of children who could not previously get vaccine.

Between 21 May and 15 July, 406,051 doses of oral polio vaccine were administered at vaccination points set up along major transit routes on the way out of North Waziristan. Emergency vaccination campaigns have also been held in surrounding areas, including weekly activities in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. This week’s campaign was reported to have reached almost 550,000 children.

Afghanistan is also doing its part to protect both the displaced and host communities against polio. More than 35,000 displaced children under the age of 10 are reported to have received a dose of oral polio vaccine as they entered the Afghan provinces of Paktyka and Khost

For more, please see the article “Reaching the unreached with polio drops in North Waziristan”, on the End Polio Pakistan website.

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