Ethiopia vaccinates 5.8 million under-five children against polio

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A four-day polio campaign has been conducted house to house to vaccinate 5.8 million under-five children in selected high-risk areas with two drops of potent bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV) and achieving 100% coverage. More than 111,000 of the vaccinated children were in refugee camps (Afar 4,949; Benishangul Gumz 12,576, Gambela 65,077& Somali 28,581).

The campaign took place in 36 zones and 364 woredas of Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, Afar, Somali, Harari, SNNPR, Oromia and Amhara regions and Dire Dawa City Administration. Zones sharing borders with neighboring countries and at risk of importation of polio virus, refugee camps and camps for internally displaced people, zones with low routine immunization performance and low population immunity, zones with high population movement and zone with low surveillance indicators were selected for the campaign as high-risk areas.

The campaign also aimed to strengthen routine immunization systems and acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance in all implementation areas.

WHO provided technical, logistical and financial support both in the preparation and implementation of the campaign. Assessment of preparations was conducted using the WHO readiness assessment tool, and monitoring and evaluation tools were developed and made available by WHO teams. WHO also supported the training of trainers (ToT), the virtual monitoring and evaluation training and printing of campaign materials. Additionally, WHO deployed about 40 WHO central and field staff to support the campaign through supportive supervision.