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Unicef Helps Nigeria Immunize 29 Million Children

Unicef Helps Nigeria Immunize 29 Million Children Against Measles

New York, Oct 19 2006 11:00AM

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has provided crucial logistical support to Nigeria for a massive immunization campaign to protect 29 million children against measles, a highly contagious virus that kills more children than any other preventable diseῡse in Africa™s most populous country.

Working with the Government and the Measles Initiative, a global public health partnership, UNICEF ensured that the vaccines were transported in a timely, safe manner in areas where health workers often travelled several hours by speedboat, then paddled in canoes or trekked in marshy waters in order to go house to house to reach every child.

More than 100,000 health workers were mobilized for the campaign, which ended last week, and sent to 17 southern states, where some 18,000 community health posts were set up to provide children with measles and polio vaccines, as well as vitamin A supplements to boost their immunity.

Of the targeted 29 million children, 4 million reside in impoverished and hard-to-reach settlements across the Niger Delta Region. Other challenges facing vaccination teams included the threat of armed militia, who roam the area in search of opportunities to seize control over the local oil resources.

“All the equipment we have here – solar freezers, deep freezers and refrigerators – is provided by UNICEF,” the head of the Health Department in Ekeremor, A.A. Okidi, said. “UNICEF has also supplied medical equipment and drugs to help us carry out the health campaign in our region.”

ends

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