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Polio Vaccine Arrives in Syria in Time for Major Vaccination Campaign

JUL 20, 2017 | KRISTI ROSA
According to the report, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “is in communication with all parties in Deir Ez-Zor and Raqqa regarding ceasefire days during campaign implementation.”

“Generally what tends to happen in such circumstances is that any and all parties are engaged in one form or another,” Oliver Rosenbauer, WHO spokesman said in the news release. “This may be through formal negotiations via a government of directly with one of the UN partners such as WHO or UNICEF, or through third parties, health providers, NGOs, networks, local communities, etc., who are already on the ground, and who can help secure a safer environment for the operations.”

WHO has also orchestrated several social mobilization activities dedicated to raising awareness of the vaccination campaign. For Deir Ez-Zor, they report that “250 mobilizers,” the majority of which were university students, have been distributing campaign posters “at markets, village entrances, and main roads.” Furthermore, “campaign date announcements have been made” at 10 bakeries—6 in Boukamal and 4 in Mayadeen. In fact, the mobilizers went so far as to put notes inside bread packages to inform community members of campaign activities. Other efforts include “door-to-door sensitization visits and community meetings,” as well as “radio public service announcements on campaign dates.” A radio Q&A regarding the vaccine is also in the works.

For Raqqa, social mobilization activities have been planned to start 1 week before the immunization round. Report authors note that print materials regarding the campaign have already been delivered to Hasakah; campaign-related t-shirts for those administering the vaccine are being made; and 25 megaphones will be sent to Raqqa to be used in the second round of immunization. They are also working on a radio public service announcement regarding the campaign.

With these efforts, health officials are making their way towards their end goal: quelling the outbreak and preventing infection in several children.
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