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WHO Kick Starts Polio Immunization Drive in Somalia

The World Health Organization is beginning a five-day nationwide polio immunization campaign in Somalia, that will aim at vaccinating about one-and-one half million children, below the age of five. //

The Head Honcho of WHO's Global Polio Eradication Campaign, David Heymann said, "In fact, we are seeing that the number of cases of polio are now beginning to decrease," And, we even feel that in the North of the country which is a very difficult part of the country logistically, it may be that polio has again disappeared because there has not been a case seen since early December of last year."

Dr. Heymann has expressed the gravity of the problem, with polio affecting nearly eight of Somalia's 19 regions. Though he concedes that the prevailing conflict in Somalia might create a stumbling block, still the positive part is the active support from Somalia’s people for this campaign against polio, which in all likelihood, not stand thwarted by the civil disturbances.

"Children will be reached by any means necessary, whether it is a boat, whether it is riding camel-whatever the volunteers need to do and the vaccinators need to do to get to those children will be done," Dr. Heymann says. "So, we are very optimistic that using local ingenuity, they will be able to reach the children as they have in the past.


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