THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Tajikistan reports high coverage in polio immunization campaign

A supplemental polio immunization campaign in Tajikistan is proving to have a positive effect in protecting the country from the reimportation of the polio virus.

The campaign was initiated following a World Health Organization recommendation in 2013. The recommendation was made based on Tajikistan's proximity to the polio-endemic country of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Health proposed giving children aged 0-5 years a supplementary oral polio vaccine (OPV) immunization. The German Development Bank KFW donated 2.4 million doses of OPV in early 2014.

The Gorno Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) conducted two rounds of polio immunization in February and early April, which reached 94.6 percent of children and 98.9 percent of children respectively. A third round in a different area targeted 1.1 million children and was "successfully implemented" in April. The fourth round of polio immunization is planned for May.

Fixed and mobile teams target children in townships, villages and isolated areas in the country. Community participation was encouraged through television and radio spots, posters, informational materials and through the active participation of health workers.

The project will be monitored by the World Health Organization country office and the Ministry of Health. So far, no problems have been reported.