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Indonesia to launch more polio campaigns in 2006 JAKARTA - Indonesia will hold two more nationwide polio vaccination drives in 2006 to try to free its population from the disease, its health minister said on Tuesday, following advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Health workers across the world's fourth most populous nation last month vaccinated millions of children for the third time to ward off the crippling disease.

"The last round was excellent as we reached 98 percent. We will carry on this (campaign) again in the end of January and in February," Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari told reporters. "After March, Indonesia will be free from polio." With four doses of polio vaccinations, a child should be immune from polio but some children may have to receive more, said Jane Supardi, the head of the health ministry's immunisation programme.

"The more the better, and vaccinations do not give 100 percent lifetime protection," she said. In a country as vast as Indonesia, with infrastructure and bureaucratic reporting often hit-and-miss, repeated vaccination efforts also help minimise the possibility anyone is missed. Indonesia reached around 95 percent of a targeted 24 million children in the first two rounds.

There have been 295 polio cases since May, when the disease re-emerged after being eradicated from the country a decade ago. Last week, a WHO official told Reuters Indonesia should hold two more nationwide immunisations. "If Indonesia doesn't do that, they could be the last country in the world with polio. And we can't let Indonesia send the poisonous gift of polio to neighbouring countries," said David Heymann, WHO's polio eradication representative.

He said other polio-ridden nations like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Yemen are working hard to eradicate the water-borne disease. Indonesia's Supari said each nationwide vaccination round costs around $11 million and only a third of the budget comes from state coffers. Health officials have said the emergence of a bird flu threat in Indonesia shifted attention away from polio. Nine Indonesians have died from avian influenza.

Polio attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in hours. Children are most at risk. The comeback of polio cases in Indonesia first showed up in West Java province, then adjacent regions, before it spread. The global battle against polio has faced setbacks in the past two years since Nigeria's northern state of Kano banned immunisation out of fear it could cause sterility or spread HIV/AIDS. Vaccinations resumed after the 10-month ban.

But the virus moved across Africa, crossed the Red Sea into Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and reached Indonesia, infecting previously polio-free countries along the way.


Link to related event Related event:
Polio in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Polio') Related blog entries (category 'Polio'):
30 November 2005 · Govt launches third nationwide polio campaign
28 August 2005 · Polio vaccination campaign hampered by rumours, ignorance
26 August 2005 · Muslim body supports polio vaccinations
24 August 2005 · U.N. warns of possible Indonesia polio epidemic
08 August 2005 · Polio cases hit 205 in Indonesia, two in capital


Posted in Polio @ 14 December 2005 07:06 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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