Tripoli, 23 April 2016:
The first national polio vaccination campaign in Libya in two years ended yesterday, Friday. In a statement, the . . .[restrict]UN Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said that five-day campaign supported by itself and the World Health Organization (WHO) was estimated to have reached more than a million children. The campaign, under the direct supervision of the National Centre for Disease Control, was timed to coincide with the WHO’s World Immunization Week 2016, which starts tomorrow, 24 April.
According to UNICEF, it provided 1.5 million doses of polio vaccines to Libya, transporting them on a special flight to the Mitiga airport.
“The shipment contained enough vaccines to cover nearly 1.2 million children below the age of six. WHO has catered for all the operational cost of the campaign as well as the technical assistance,” the statement read.
The political crisis in Libya, polio-free since 1991, has meant that routine immunization against polio, made mandatory in 1970, was interrupted, the statement noted. The new campaign was implemented across Libya and involved 2,000 trained vaccinators working in 600 health facilities.
“UNICEF is looking forward to further cooperation with the NCDC and WHO to improve the coverage of immunization, effective vaccine management including procurement and strengthening the cold chain and surveillance and information sharing systems in Libya,” said Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Special Representative in Libya. [/restrict]