WHO African Region: Ethiopia

Ethiopia polio vaccination campaigns in areas bordering southern Sudan

In the context of ongoing response to a polio outbreak in Gambella region, the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with its partners is planning to conduct a polio vaccination campaign targeting about 2.1 million children under age 5 in the zones of Gambella and Benishangul/Gumuz Regions, 6 zones of Oromia Region and 4 zones of Southern Nation Nationalities People Region (SNNPR). The dates of these campaigns are October 17-20, and November 14-17, 2008.

A total of ten thousands vaccination teams will be deployed under the coordination of the Regional/Zonal and Woreda Health Bureaus to reach the targeted children by a house to house strategy as well as through the health facilities and crowded areas such as bus stations and border crossing points to find all children under the age of five.

The Oct-Nov polio campaigns are being conducted in addition to the 3 rounds of polio vaccination campaigns already conducted in May, June and August following the confirmation of 2 cases of wild poliovirus in Gambella in April 2008.

Due to ongoing circulation of polio along the Ethiopia-South Sudan border and high cross-border population movement, it is necessary to conduct further campaigns to maintain high population immunity and prevent further spread of the virus. Most of these polio campaigns have been implemented in a synchronised approach between Ethiopia and South Sudan.

WHO will provide the operational costs estimated at USD 3.2 million while UNICEF will cover the vaccine costs estimated at half a million USD.

The October polio campaign coincide with the visit to Ethiopia of approximately eighty Rotarians from the USA and Canada who will take part in the campaign in Jima and Nekemt zones. During their visit, the Rotarians will have high level advocacy meetings with the national relevant authorities on key health priorities areas including polio eradication.

Maps showing target areas of polio vaccination campaign in Ethiopia, October 2008