Zambia rolls out oral polio vaccination campaign targeting 3.8 million children
Zambia on Wednesday launched an oral polio vaccination campaign targeting about 3.8 million children aged below five years.
The first of the four-round vaccination campaigns will be done in three of the country’s 10 provinces, namely Lusaka, Eastern and Muchinga, representing 30 high-priority districts and targeting to reach 1.2 million children.
The launch of the vaccination follows the outbreak of polio in neighboring Malawi that has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to instruct all countries surrounding Malawi to conduct such campaigns.
Nathan Bakyata, the WHO representative in Zambia, said the campaign in Zambia will be rolled out to all the 10 provinces in subsequent rounds.
The WHO, he said, is committed to supporting Zambia in the campaign and has joined efforts with other partners.
Noala Skinner, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Zambia, noted that the polio outbreak in Malawi was the first in Africa in more than five years.
“We need to stop this virus in its tracks before it causes further harm to children,” she said.
Skinner said Zambia and other countries have shown commitment to the goal of eliminating polio, adding that this requires concerted efforts from all partners.
UNICEF, Skinner said, has procured 5.9 million doses of polio vaccine for Zambia to cover the first and second rounds.