United States supports polio immunization campaign in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Sept. 14 / Trend H.Hasanov /
In an effort to prevent an outbreak of polio, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is assisting the Turkmen government in launching a national polio vaccination campaign, the U.S. embassy reported.
USAID is supporting the efforts of Turkmenistan's Ministry of Health, in collaboration with UNICEF, by providing a $50,000 grant for community mobilization efforts. The grant is part of a larger Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF program to immunize all children under the age of five from polio.
National polio vaccination campaigns have been launched in all five Central Asian countries in response to a sudden polio outbreak in Tajikistan. As of June, there were nearly 600 suspected cases of polio in the Central Asian region. This is the first polio outbreak in Central Asia since 2002, and one of the largest outbreaks worldwide in recent years.
The U.S. Chargé d'Affaires, a.i. Lynne Tracy, outlining the importance of USAID's support of Turkmenistan's national campaign, noted that "working together we can make sure that each child is immunized and thus protected from polio."
Polio mostly affects children under age 6 and can result in lifelong paralysis or death; vaccination is the only way to prevent contracting this dangerous disease. Since 2002, the entire WHO European region, including Turkmenistan was certified as polio free.
The United States, through USAID, is the largest supporter of the fight against polio in the region, pledging $1.2 million to support polio immunization campaigns and surveillance throughout Central Asia. USAID support for polio immunization is one of the many assistance projects the American people support in Turkmenistan. U.S.s assistance also spans the country's agricultural sector, education sector, health care systems, and local governance.
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