2010 Polio Outbreak Tajikistan

In 2010, Tajikistan confirmed a Polio outbreak in the country, after eight years of being declared polio free, along with numerous other European countries. Since the last case of polio in Tajikistan was reported in 1997, this news came to a shock but past experience helped the country cope with the disease more efficiently. On May 19th, the country had reported 432 cases of acute flaccid paralysis in 20 districts with 129 being polio cases. Unfortunately, about 62% of these polio cases occurred in children aged 1-5 years and were therefore prone to the virus’s potential effects of lifelong paralysis or death. 

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To react quickly to the outbreak, the Ministry of Health conducted “three rounds of an emergency immunisation campaign for all children under 6, vaccinating 1.1 million children in Tajikistan.” This campaign would not have been possible without interdependence with other states and foreign aid. WHO and UNICEF provided cold chains and over 3.9 million doses of vaccines costing over $614,000, while USAID and the British Department for International Development contributed financial support. In addition, the MOH and UNICEF encouraged families to bring their children for immunisations against polio, the best preventive of the disease.

Overall results:

To get an idea of the campaign’s prompt response to the disease, in the first round, they immunised 1.1 million children under the age of 6, representing 99.6% of the target group. Overall, routine immunisation coverage in the country was about 87%, although there were few absences, especially in remote rural areas. “Although the Region is considered at high-risk for importation of wild poliovirus due to ongoing global travel, trade, and migration, especially with the four polio endemic countries” (India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan), the campaign effectively vaccinated the majority of the country’s population in the outbreak’s early stages.

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