17th National Immunization Campaign launched

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The National Immunization Campaign kicked off in Ethiopia on Friday, October 9, 2015. Attended by several government officials, the campaign has a budget of 5 million birr and aims to vaccinate 59,055 children against polio. The campaign that will last until Tuesday, October 13 will be the 17th round of immunization. During the launch ceremony, Dr Muluken Argaw, Head of Dire Dawa Health Bureau stated that there have been more than 10 successful campaigns in the last two years. “As we are in the last round of the race, the support of partners is needed more than ever,” he said.
Dr. Filimona Bisrat, Secretariat Director at Core Group, an NGO that works on child issues  and supports the immunization campaign, stated that the organization works with the Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Association (CCRDA) on polio eradication initiatives. Currently, the NGO is working in five zones in the Somali region on a project that benefits over a million mothers who do not have access to medical care.   
Dr. Mohamed Yussef,  the UNICEF representative, congratulated all those that have achieved a polio free status, affirming  that UNICEF will fully support the initiative.
World Health Organization (WHO) Representative Pierre M’Pele acknowledged the massive effort that was put up to fight  polio. “I am very much delighted to be here and to acknowledge our great achievement in Somali Region. Now the time has come for ending this disease once and for all. Thank you all for your relentless efforts and support,” he said.
This year, 24 Rotarians from the US and Canada participated in the National Immunization Campaign. The team leader, Former District 5030 Governor (PDG) Ezra Teshome said that no child in the Somali Region will be left unvaccinated and thanked health workers that administer the vaccinations.
Polio Plus Committee Chairperson PDG Dr. Tadesse Alemu also thanked the Somali Health Bureau for the efforts it has shown to organize the National Immunization Day in the Eastern zone of the region.  
The national immunization program in Ethiopia was launched in 1980, with measurable achievements in reducing child morbidity and mortality associated with vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) since its launch. At the national level, the Maternal and Child Health Directorate of the Ministry of Health (MoH) coordinates the program. The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) case team is among the six case teams that comprise of the Maternal and Child Health Directorate, which is structured in order to harmonize and coordinate implementation of various immunization related initiatives.
During the National Immunization Campaign, representatives of health bureaus, UN agencies, Ministry of Health as well as other governmental officials were present. Abdifatah Said, Deputy Head of the Somali Regional Health Bureau officially launched the campaign.