When a polio outbreak in Syria was confirmed by the World Health Organisation in 2013, the medical community was alarmed. Before the conflict, the country had succeeded in vaccinating 95 per cent of children against the highly infectious viral disease. Concern centred on the 500,000 children believed by the UN to still be vulnerable.
Bihar, with the support of UNICEF, began vaccinating children under the age of five. Polio has no known cure, and in the worst cases, leads to permanent paralysis and death.
A vaccine, administered multiple times, can protect a child for life.
Bihar completed its 12th round of vaccinations on Sunday, January 17, 2016, reaching more than 40,000 children in hard-to-reach areas of Aleppo governorate. Working in Afrin city, Afrin countryside, Jinderes, Rajo and Mabatly, immunization teams administered oral vaccinations to children across the region.
Hivin, a 29-year-old nurse from the region, highlighted the importance of vaccinations. As a certified nurse, she uses her position to raise awareness of polio in her community.
Parents should be attentive to any symptoms in their children and be encouraged to vaccinate their children against communicable diseases, she said.