Côte dIvoire carries out nationwide polio campaign with help of UN mission

17 August 2009The Government of Côte d’Ivoire is wrapping up a nationwide campaign to immunize children against polio today, carried out with the help of the United Nations mission which provided logistical support to the effort to stamp out the highly infectious and incurable viral disease. Some 6 million children were targeted in the four-day campaign, which began on 14 August and is part of the National Immunization Days. The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) transported medical teams and equipment in 41 localities in the departments of Odienné and Daloa. UN Police were also mobilized to assist throughout the campaign. The mission will continue to assist authorities over the next few days as they evaluate the immunization efforts, which were also supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).Polio – contracted through contaminated food, water and faeces – was almost eradicated in Côte d’Ivoire until a case was confirmed in December 2008 in Adiaké in the country’s east. The disease attacks the nervous system and mainly affects children under five. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, usually in the legs, and among those paralyzed, five to 10 per cent die when their respiratory muscles become immobilized.

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