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2.7 million children never reached with single polio vaccine – Report

A new report by the Independent Monitoring Board on progress with global polio eradication has revealed that 2.7 million children in six countries have never been reached with a single polio vaccine.

The report, released late June 2012, further stated that not only have these “millions of children” never had a polio vaccine but many of these ‘never’ children have not been reached by the life-saving benefits of routine immunization.

They are said to be living in volatile areas of conflict such as eastern DR Congo, northern Nigeria and the Northwest region of Pakistan.

The Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Anthony Lake, has therefore made a clarion call to accelerate all efforts to reach these “unreached children”.

Lake in a statement noted that the polio campaign is “dangerously” under-funded but “we are on the verge of victory. Not only can we make history by succeeding in eradicating polio but we will be condemned by history if we fail.”

UNICEF said it is committed, with partners, to implementing the recommendations outlined in the report such as using polio vaccination campaigns for integrated public health campaigns around good sanitation and nutrition, scaling up use of social mobilization activities so communities take ownership of the health campaigns and finding innovative ways of reaching missed children.

By Ekow Quandzie

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