UN and International Community united against polio in Yemen [Archives:2005/847/Local News]

June 2 2005

A request from WHO Representative in Yemen was circulated to the UN

Agencies and International Communities to join WHO and UNICEF efforts in providing International Observers for the planned National Immunization Campaign for Polio Eradication on 30th May to 1st June. In a meeting held at WHO premises on the 24th May and in an unprecedented step all UN agencies and some international organizations responded positively to join efforts to combat Polio in Yemen. The UN Resident Coordinator Ms Flavia Pansieri was the first to volunteer to be an International Observer in this campaign demonstrating a good example of leadership. UN agencies such as UNDP, WFP, UNFPA, and UNV provided more than 16 international volunteers. This is in addition to already available 12 international observers from UNICEF and 13 from WHO. International Organizations such as GTZ, PHRplus, USAID, ICRC and ADRA will also provide support in supervising the Campaign.ADRA will do a good job by assisting the government in covering the difficult Al Jawf governorate.

Yemen is planning a national campaign starting from 30th of May to 1st of June targeting about 4.6 million children less than five years.

The campaign is aiming at stopping the ongoing Polio Outbreak, which hit the country since late February 2005 and so far affected 179 children until 29th of May 2005. Yemen was polio free for the last 4 years. The virus responsible for the outbreak is the Wild Virus Type 1, which was imported from Sudan after being introduced there from Nigeria.

The outbreak mainly hit Al-Hodeidah governorate and lesser extent in 10 other governorates out of the country of 21 governorates.

Yemen was polio-free for the last 4 years. The campaign will be carried out from house-to-house and large number of teams (33,000 health workers and volunteers) are deployed by the Ministry of Public Health to implement the campaign.

For the first time mono-valent Oral Polio Vaccine (mOPV) will be used which contains only type 1 polio


Another round of vaccination will be implemented by mid July 2005 to stop transmission and boost the immunity of the children of Yemen against wild Poliovirus.