Published On: Wed, May 7th, 2014

Unicef working to boost polio immunity in Pacific

Unicef says it is boosting its efforts to increase the herd immunity against polio in the Pacific in response to the WHO’s declaration of an international public health emergency for the disease.

The Chief of Health and Sanitation, Naawa Sipilanyambe says the agency is aiming to extend its childhood immunisation programmes to reach every child in the region.

She says Unicef is also working with WHO to switch from the oral polio vaccine to an injectible form of inactivated polio vaccine to target extra strains of the polio virus.

She says in addition the agency is strengthening the surveillance system so that case detection of polio is a priority.

“Test detection is extremely important. So whenever you have any case there’s a need to do virological testing so that you can rule out the possibility that this could be poliomyelitis.”

Dr Sipilanyambe says there have been no known cases of polio in the Pacific for some time and the general immunity from vaccination programmes is quite strong.

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