One down! Two to go

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    Det er mange som skal takkes for at vi er kommet så langt som vi har i kampen mot polio. Frivillige og organisasjoner.Foto: UNICEF/Pflanz

24.oktober er verdens poliodag og i år kan vi feire at det er ett land mindre som er polio-endemisk. Vi startet 2015 med tre navn på listen over polioendemiske land, nemlig Afghanistan, Pakistan og Nigeria. Nå har Nigeria gått et år uten tilfeller av polio og er dermed fjernet fra listen!

Dette er en skikkelig lagseier! Helt fra de frivillige som har gått fra landsby til landsby og vaksinert, til organisasjoner som har informert, kjøpt og administrert vaksiner, GAVI som har kjøpt inn utallige vaksiner og regjeringer som har prioritert vaksiner til befolkningen.

Samtidig dukker det opp enkelte tilfeller her og der som en direkte konsekvens av manglende vaksinering. Vi har sett tilfeller i Ukraina, Laos, Madagaskar og Guinea. I Ukraina er for eksempel færre enn 14 prosent av barna vaksinert mot polio.

Derfor bruker vi også poliodagen til å si hvor viktig det er å fortsatt vaksinere mot sykdommen, slik at vi kan bli helt kvitt den.

World Polio Day: Fewer children than ever with polio

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 24 October 2015 – Never before in the history of polio have so few children in so few countries contracted the crippling virus – but we cannot rest until the number of cases is zero, UNICEF said on the eve of World Polio Day.

“Progress to end polio is real and dramatic, with now just two countries in the world where the wild poliovirus has never been interrupted: Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said Peter Crowley, head of the Polio Unit at UNICEF. “But – and it’s a big but – until all children everywhere are consistently and routinely immunized against polio, the threat remains. We cannot let down our guard; we have to keep going until there is not a single child anywhere who remains unvaccinated.”

Just three years ago, Nigeria was the reservoir of more than half of all polio cases in the world. This year, for the first time in history, Nigeria has succeeded in interrupting transmission of wild poliovirus, and last month it was removed from the list of polio endemic countries. Nigeria’s remarkable achievement has brought the country and the African region closer than ever to being certified polio-free. In India, where thousands of children once suffered from polio-induced paralysis each year, there have been no cases in four years.  Globally there have been just 51 cases of wild polio virus since the beginning of 2015, compared with 242 wild polio cases for 2014.

These successes are a result of political will and government leadership in affected countries; the strong mobilization and engagement of communities; the courage and commitment of front-line workers; and the combined, coordinated efforts of the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF.

As part of its contribution to this Initiative, UNICEF delivered 1.7 billion doses of vaccine in 2014 and supported the training of tens of thousands of front-line workers in communities from Karachi in Pakistan to Kano state in Nigeria, helping to build trust in the vaccine among parents and communities. Other success factors have been the integration of additional life-saving interventions for children such as routine immunization, nutrition, handwashing with soap, and breastfeeding, into polio campaigns, particularly in the most under-served and high-risk areas.

Despite this progress, recent vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreaks in countries like Lao-PDR, Ukraine, Guinea and Madagascar have underscored the risks that many countries continue to face due to low routine immunization coverage. These outbreaks serve as a reminder of the vital need for intensified efforts to strengthen routine immunization systems and address disparities in children’s access to basic health services. In Ukraine, for example, fewer than 14 per cent of children are immunized against polio.

“We aim to bring a global halt to polio transmission by this time next year, but the only way to do this is for countries with low vaccination dates to re-double their efforts to reach every child, wherever they are and no matter how hard this may be,” said Peter Crowley

 

Helene har harbeidet som kommunikasjonsrådgiver i UNICEF Norge i 6 år

Gjennom jobben reiser hun en del i felt for å dokumentere UNICEFs arbeid. Helene arbeidet for UNICEF i Liberia, i forbindelse med Ebolaepidemien 2014/2015 og jobbet med krisekommunikasjon på regionkontoret til UNICEF i Vest- og Sentralafrika i 2016.

Ti gode nyheter for barn i 2016

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Unicef