On Sunday, October 19, 2014 the second round of Iraq’s autumn National Polio Vaccination Campaign began in all provinces across Iraq including Kurdistan Region. The campaign will last for 5 days and is being carried out by primary health care clinics (PHCCs) and field teams. Ministry of Health (MoH) and all Directorates of Health (DoHs) have harnessed all of their capacities to implement the second round of the campaign. The MoH announced that the campaign has covered more than 5 million children under five, including 450,000 children that have already been vaccinated in Ninawa province despite the difficult security situation.
USAID/PHCPI has contributed greatly to the MoH’s polio vaccination campaign efforts through the development and distribution of IEC materials, an Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) field manual, and through funding MoH TV polio awareness spots aired across Iraq. AFP is the most common sign of polio and is used as a surveillance indicator during polio outbreaks. PHCPI’s manual is used by communicable disease surveillance staff, including 677 of the vaccinators and supervisors who were trained by the project, to assist primary health care workers to better diagnose, manage and report cases of AFP.
Additionally, PHCPI is implementing an electronic vaccination record system (EVP), which is a paper free method to collect child and vaccination team data during immunization campaigns that allows real time monitoring by the campaign leader, accurate collection of data, and geo tracking. The EVP system will play a vital and integral role in the MoH’s autumn polio vaccination campaign. This vaccination campaign will be the first to utilize a tablet system that allows real time data collection and geo tracking for an efficient and streamlined roll-out of immunizations.
The MoH called upon everyone to have their children vaccinated as soon as possible. MoH Media Director, Dr. Abdul-Ghani, affirmed that the MoH has brought adequate dosages of the vaccine from reliable global suppliers. Eleven thousand static and mobile teams are implementing this campaign across Iraq and they are being supervised by 1,000 vaccinators and supervisors from the MoH.