IRAQ – In a bid to protect children from measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), Iraq’s Ministry of Health has launched a nationwide vaccination campaign in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO.

The campaign aims to vaccinate over 7.5 million children between the ages of 6 and 12 across all primary schools and kindergartens in the country.

The initiative will concludes on April 25th, 2024, ten days ahead of World Immunization Week.

This fully government-supported campaign leverages technical assistance from UNICEF and WHO, whereby more than 30,000 healthcare workers will be deployed to administer vaccines, raise awareness in communities, and manage the program’s logistics.

 In his speech, Dr. Saleh Al-Hasnawi, the Minister of Health, highlighted the urgency of the campaign to curb the spread of highly contagious measles.

He emphasized the critical role of collaboration with UNICEF and WHO in achieving widespread vaccination and saving children’s lives.

Dr. Saman Barzangy, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Health Minister, pledged the region’s commitment.

A comprehensive vaccination drive will target school and kindergarten children to prevent measles outbreaks and safeguard public health.

Ms. Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF’s Representative in Iraq, commended the Ministry of Health’s dedication to child welfare.

She highlighted the campaign’s importance in strengthening the healthcare system and contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3.2, which focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all ages.

Dr. George Alfred Ki-Zerbo, WHO’s Representative and Head of Mission in Iraq, reiterated their commitment to collaborating with partners to expand the national immunization program and achieve universal health coverage.

He emphasized collective efforts to control disease transmission, save lives, and create a healthier future for all.

Vaccines have played a vital role in saving millions of lives annually over the past five decades, significantly improving child survival rates.

Recognized as one of the most cost-effective public health interventions, prioritizing vaccination remains crucial to reaching every child and ensuring a healthier population for Iraq.

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