Yemen National Immunization Days (NIDs) The Fight is on to Eradicate Polio Virus in Yemen [Archives:1999/43/Health]

October 25 1999

Shakib Mensure Maqtary
The social and economic benefits of eradicating polio is beyond any human measures. Throughout history, polio has made millions disabled and killed many others. Today, there are as many as tens of million of people who are still suffering from polio paralysis.
From the time the World Health Organization adopted the resolution calling for global eradication of polio, it has become a national primary goal for each state to be a member of WHO to eradicate polio by the year 2000. The global goal of eradication of polio is the concern of all human race because unless all countries are free from polio no country can avoid its dangers.
Since decades, a dramatic success of eliminating polio had been made in different parts of the world, but polio is yet a common source of anxiety and its fears paralyze all of us. Today, less than fifty countries all over the world are considered to be polio endemic countries, Republic of Yemen included.
National Immunization Days (NIDs) constitute the second part of polio eradication strategy. The corner-stone of polio eradication strategy is to ensure a sustainable high level of routine Immunization, at least 90% of all newly born children.
The third part of the strategy is effective Acute Elaccid Paralysis Surveillance (AFP Surveillance). It is considered to be of primary importance without which it is impossible to pin-point where and how wild virus is still circulating or to verify when it has been eradicated.
NIDs in the years 1996 and 1997 were very successful, but the low immunization routine coverage at that time did not match the NIDs. Since 1998 great efforts were made to strengthen the routine immunization as a result a high vaccination coverage was achieved which is as today 72% of all EPI antigens for all infants.
Our surveillance system was established in mid 1998. Since January 1999 great progress was made. However, a strong surveillance is needed to proceed for polio eradication initiatives.
With tempo of these efforts, it’s expected that Yemen may be declared as a country free from polio by the end of year 2002.
National Immunization Days (NIDs): 1999
First Round:October (24-26)
Second Round:November (27-30)
Geographically, Yemen is divided into 19 governorates and 305 districts.
The total number of vaccination post during NIDs is 5435; 2436 fixed and 2999 temporary.
Total health workers during NIDs are 5720 and 13368 volunteers.
The number of children to be vaccinated are 4,000,000.
Due to the national policy of decentralization, all of the 19 governorates and the city of Sana’a are responsible for planning and implementation of the campaign with technical and operational support from the central operation room, based at expanded programs on Immunization Head Office.
The government contribution for the National Immunization is about 40% of the implementation cost.
Yemen is grateful to all the partners for their continuous efforts and invaluable support; WHO, UNICEF, CDC Atlanta and Rotary International.
The friendly government of Japan has made enormous contribution to the National Immunization days and strengthened routine Immunization practically to improve the cold chain system for the storage of the vaccine.
Without these initiatives that mobilized and united our nation and partners in this common concern to bring up healthy generation, we could not dream of Yemen free from polio.
During the NIDs from 24-26 Oct, President Saleh, Vice President, Speaker of the Parliament, Prime Minister and diplomats shall lend their prestige to the campaign by administrating polio vaccine to the children at different vaccination posts in the country.