WHO and UNICEF partner on Syria immunization campaign

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that it partnered with the United Nations Children's Fund in response to a recent polio outbreak to vaccinate all Syrian children, regardless of their location.

"WHO and UNICEF are coordinating the vaccination campaign with all concerned parties to make sure that all children are vaccinated no matter where they are located," Director of Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control at WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office Dr. Jaouad Mahjour said.

Seven countries and territories in the Middle East implemented polio vaccination campaigns in response to the recent outbreak. The comprehensive vaccination programs will target 22 million children by December in an effort to reestablish the region as polio-free.

The WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region recently declared polio eradication to be a regional emergency and called upon local agencies and organizations to help vaccination all children against polio, especially those affected by the Syrian conflict.

The WHO and UNICEF are partnering to reestablish health facilities within Syria and deploy health workers to deliver vaccinations to all regions of Syria, including those heavily affected by the conflict. The Syrian government also committed to reach all of its children with vaccinations and help find a solution to accessing warring areas.

The emergency polio outbreak response is expected to last at least 6 to 8 months, depending on the progression of the disease.