From house to house fortification campaigns with hope of 90% [Archives:2005/847/Health]

June 2 2005

Polio reappearance in Yemen raised many questions and arguments. Yemen started in 1996 many national vaccination campaigns to eradicate from this viral disease. In 2001 WHO announced Yemen as a polio free country.

However , because of the rejection of Nigeria to use the vaccines that had been offered by WHO under the excuse that the vaccines were polluted by viruses lead to barrenness or AIDS. Many children were infected by polio in Nigeria and the infection was transmitted to the African region. In 2004, 126 cases were discovered in Sudan . that situation created fears and forced the Regional Director of Middle East of WHO to send a letter to Yemen recommending to condense epidemic monitor for any polio case might appear. According to this recommendation , the Ministry of Health investigated and got the surprise . there are polio in Yemen.

Although the in-consisted numbers of polio cases( between 86 to 200 cases most of them in Hudaida ) from the first discovering on 13th of March , Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuami , Minster of health said that 179 cases, distributing between 11 governorates were discovered until May,29, 2005.

The press reported from citizens and officials in organizations that there were many reasons behind the outbreak of polio. For example the hearsays that associated the previous campaigns that the vaccines were polluted. Some official officers said that vaccines were badly stored which led to the spoil of the vaccines. Other citizens complained from the lack of vaccines in their regions.

The Ministry of health and UNICEF stressed on the safety of the vaccines. Naseem Ur Rehman, Chief information & communication in UNICEF said ” ministry of health, WHO, and UNICEF have an excellent partnership the ” set back ” has come from the region there is a proof that this virus came from the African region. ..the vaccines are definitely save”.

Dr. Al-Nuami insisted on that there is no rightness that was lack of vaccines saying ” we insured to offer the medical centers with extra-vaccines. For example if we know that the children in some region are 1000 , we provide this region with 1500 vaccines” . He palmed the parents who didn't take the former companies seriously and didn't vaccinate their children . He also directed the media, religious men, local councils to cooperate this time effectively to a rise the awareness at the citizens of the dangerous of polio.

To prevent the outbreak of polio, Ministry of Health has received 6,000,000 doses of vaccines to organize an emergent fortification national campaigns. The first stage began on April and continued for three days. 650.000 children in Hudaida has been vaccinated. Second stage began on May 30, 2005 throughout Yemen. The target was children, who are under 5 which are about 4.653.578. These campaigns will continue to enter their third and forth stages ( 3-4 weeks between each stage).

In spit of all these effort , the ways of the infection of polio from African region to Yemen are still unknown, and as long as the African region undergoes polio , Yemen will be under the threat of polio.

Hashem Zeen , WHO representative said that polio virus typically enters the body through mouth and multiplies in tonsils and lymph nodes of the upper respiratory tract. Infection proceeds from the mouth into the stomach to the intestines and is shed from the body in feces, often resulting in future infection. For example a parent can become infected by infant during diaper changes, or improper waste disposal can lead to contamination of water supply. These infections in turn will spread the virus more widely. Therefore, according to Dr. Noumi , the role of epidemic monitoring will not be easy , especially at the passages at boundaries , since any person may carry the virus but he or she is not sick . ” however when we found polio cases, we examined their adult relatives and found the virus in same cases” he said.

The only way to stop polio is to vaccinate the children and to create protection for the body against the virus.