World Health Day: Erbil children vaccinated in nationwide campaign
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Thousands of children across the Kurdistan Region and Iraq were vaccinated on Sunday as part of a five-day campaign to stamp out preventable illnesses. Day one coincided with World Health Day.
“Although 90 percent of under-fives received polio and measles vaccinations last year, only half of under-ones received all the vaccinations required to ensure a healthy childhood,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday.
“Without adequate immunization, Iraqi children have significantly higher risks of developing debilitating diseases and lifelong disabilities.”
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Health aims to vaccinate 775,000 children under the age of five. Erbil Governor Nawzad Hadi was among a visiting delegation of KRG officials who opened one clinic in the Regional capital on Sunday.
The ministry is working alongside Iraq’s Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF.
This round of the campaign aims to vaccinate 5,875,186 children under five years of age across 145 districts of 18 governorates in Iraq.
In a statement to Rudaw, WHO said it is supporting health officials by providing technical and operational funding and assistance with training and transportation. Supervisors are also being provided to ensure quality.
“The campaign is being monitored independently by 290 monitors and 38 supervisors from the Iraqi Red Crescent Society in addition to a team of 12 competent and highly skilled WHO Polio Eradication Officers,” WHO told Rudaw.
More than 25,278 vaccinators are supporting the campaign with 2,920 supervisors at the district, provincial, and national levels, it added.
The scheme follows a ten-day campaign in March to immunize tens of thousands of children in Iraq against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
World Health Day is marked every year on April 7 to highlight worldwide health emergencies and acknowledge progress in developing countries.
Photos: Mohammed Shwani / Rudaw