New Polio Campaign underway in Nigeria

UNICEF says a major health campaign is taking place to vaccinate 41 million children against polio in the four countries comprising the Lake Chad Basin — Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The U.N. children's agency said Tuesday the re-emergence of polio after two years without any reported cases is "a huge concern" especially in an area where Boko Harem Islamic extremists are active. The agency said nearly 39,000 health workers are deployed in high-risk areas and so far approximately 30 million children have been vaccinated with the oral polio vaccine. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said UNICEF's response remains hampered by continued insecurity and by a lack of funding. Only $50.4 million of the $158 million needed for the emergency vaccination campaign has been received so far, he said.
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Canada announces new support to fight polio in Pakistan

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s minister of international development and La Francophonie (an international organization of French-speaking countries and regions), announced new funding to help interrupt the transmission of polio in Pakistan, which accounts for the vast majority of new cases. Bibeau made the announcement in April after her first meeting with Tariq Azim Khan, high commissioner for Pakistan in Canada, based at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Toronto. Canada is contributing CA$40 million over three years toward two initiatives led by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. The Building Community Support for Polio Eradication project, implemented by UNICEF, aims to increase community acceptance of polio vaccination team workers through local language media campaigns, the delivery of health information packages, and the recruitment and training of community-based vaccinators. WHO’s Improving Surveillance to End Polio Transmission project will improve the detection and tracking of polio and the monitoring of all polio eradication efforts. “The unwavering support and confidence evidenced by the government and the people of Canada in Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts has been extremely encouraging and reassuring in the country’s long-drawn fight against the crippling disease,” says Angela Kearney, UNICEF’s representative in Pakistan. Bob Scott, a past Rotary Foundation chair and International PolioPlus Committee
chair, wrote about Canada’s legacy of leadership in the fight against polio on the End Polio Now blog. “Canada has set the gold standard for polio research, political leadership, and financial backing,” he writes. “And it’s no stranger to helping polio-endemic countries in Pakistan’s neighborhood, including a Canadian-led project to immunize more than 7 million children in Afghanistan and advocate for vaccination among Taliban leaders. Canada is a leader in creating a legacy for the [Global Polio Eradication Initiative], with strategic investments and initiatives that address other development goals.”