Christian Children’s Fund in Indonesia and the Philippines is working with UNICEF and other local agencies to mobilize communities, making it possible to vaccinate children against polio.
Indonesia was free from polio for nearly 10 years, but the water-borne disease returned in May 2005.
The campaign in the Philippines was launched on August 29, 2005 after polio cases were reported throughout the nearby country of Indonesia.
In Indonesia, an immunization campaign has been initiated to vaccinate more than 24 million children against polio. This first campaign will be followed by additional immunization rounds on September 27 and early November.
As of Tuesday, August 30, there were 153 confirmed cases of polio within Aceh province, Indonesia, a region in which CCF works.
In the Philippines, CCF joined with the Department of Health (DOH) in a supplemental polio immunization program in Mindanao, the southernmost region of the Philippines.
According to an Associated Press report, polio “spreads when unvaccinated people come into contact with the feces of those with the virus, often through contaminated water in places with poor hygiene or inadequate sewage systems.”
The virus attacks the nervous system and causes paralysis, muscular atrophy and, in about one in every 200 cases, death.
Polio mainly affects children under the age of five.