ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Ministry of Health in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Sunday announced it was launching a new campaign to vaccinate children under the age of five against polio.
The crippling and often lethal decease has made world headlines recently after multiple cases were reported in the Philippines, a nation declared polio-free since the year 2000. Polio, also known as infantile paralysis, is preventable if the vaccine is correctly administered.
The autonomous Kurdistan Region has not identified any cases of the infectious disease since 1998, Health Minister Saman Barzanji told reporters on Sunday as he kicked off the program, adding that mobile health teams would be visiting "all neighborhoods" in the region and vaccinating all eligible children. He noted that families can also have their children vaccinated in public health facilities.
The campaign includes 767,780 children across the region, Barzinji said.
In a joint press conference with the minister, Erbil Governor Firsat Sofi urged citizens to cooperate with the mobile health care professionals in their efforts to make sure the disease remains locally eradicated.
The poliovirus infected 136 people in 2018, according to World Health Organization data. Although many of those infected ultimately recover from the decease, it often causes permanent muscular and central nervous system damage.
Editing by John J. Catherine