MOZAMBIQUE – Mozambique has partnered with the United States to vaccinate 4.8 million children under five years old in the first round of the polio immunization round in an effort to contain the spread of the wild poliovirus.

The immunization drive which has largely exceeded the target of 4.2 million children was in response to cases of poliomyelitis identified in Nampula, Cabo Delgado Provinces, and neighboring Malawi.

Mass vaccinations and supplementary vaccinations are the best weapon against the circulation of poliovirus by immunizing every child under 5 years with oral polio vaccine regardless of previous immunization status.

The Ministry of Health (MISAU) implemented the national campaign with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in a step towards eradicating polio worldwide.

The US Government supported the MISAU in planning, implementing and monitoring the polio vaccination campaign in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa, Zambezia, Tete, Manica and Sofala.

The US backed polio surveillance activities to detect suspected cases and inform needed preventive interventions as well as provided assistance from CDC-trained STOP Program staff who work along the Malawi-Mozambique border to implement vaccination activities.

Mozambique also received funding and technical assistance for local and international partners to support the vaccination campaign including the Mozambique’s Field Epidemiology Training Program, MOMENTUM Routine Immunization Transformation and Equity (M-RITE) among others.

MISAU and Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners will further partner with the United States in the second round of the polio vaccine campaign expected to launch on April 28th to curb the ongoing circulating polio outbreak.

Malawi’s successful polio vaccination drive

Meanwhile, the Malawian government has successfully completed the first phase of vaccination campaigns for children under 5 years against wild poliovirus type 1 after a young child in Lilongwe developed the disease.

A Poliovirus Outbreak Response Situation Report released by the government states that 2.97 million children aged between 0 – and 59 months have been vaccinated in the campaign representing 102 percent administrative coverage.

Malawi has further announced that there are no additional cases of polio so far since the government instituted risk assessment and surveillance measures to contain any potential spread of polio.

The Ministry of Health has also administered over 6.9 million doses of oral polio vaccine procured by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) targeting 2.9 million children under five in the four-round vaccination drive.

Additionally, UNICEF partnered with the World Health Organization and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in supporting the Ministry of Health to vaccinate children.

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