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Poliovirus vaccination for troops

Mere Naleba
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

THE Ministry of Health is adamant in safeguarding Fijian troops returning from Golan Heights as well as those leaving the country to serve in the poliovirus-infected country.

Ministry of Health spokesman Sunil Chandra said the ministry was working closely with medical team from the military camp in ensuring that troops who had just returned from a one-year deployment to the Golan Heights received the extra dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV) or inactivated polio vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that the Health Ministry was already working on measures to be taken in Fiji concerning military personnel deployed and returning from Golan Heights.

However, Mr Chandra could not state what other measures are taken by the ministry in safeguarding troops who are returning home after serving in Golan Heights except for receiving the extra dose of vaccinations.

Syria is one of the 10 countries identified as infected by the wild poliovirus.

Golan Heights is located in Syria and borders Israel, Lebanon and Jordan.

WHO's technical officer for expanded immunisation program Dr Jaya Prakash said the outbreak in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Ethiopia continued to threaten WHOs fight in completely eradicating the virus.

"The international spread of poliovirus in 2014 continues to threaten the ongoing effort to eradicate globally one of the world's most serious vaccine preventable diseases," Dr Prakash said.

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