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116 Dubai schools in National Polio Campaign

National campaign aims to target 416,000 children. [Image via Shutterstock]

By Staff

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) emphasised upon the second phase of the National Polio Campaign during its weekly Twitter campaign.
The second phase will run from January 11 to 22. Phase one took place from November 16 to 27.

Polio is an infectious disease that affects young children. It causes life-long paralysis or death and is not curable. The only way to prevent a child from getting polio is through vaccination.

The national campaign, which is organized by the Ministry of Health in partnership with Dubai DHA and Health Authority Abu Dhabi(HAAD) aims to target 416,000 children within the age group to prevent the disease from setting foot in the UAE.

Dr Nusaiba Shaker Al Behandy, Specialist Registrar and Acting Head of Health Unit for Schools and Educational Institutes at the DHA reiterated the importance of the UAE-wide National Polio Campaign that provides free polio vaccines to children under the age of five years.

“We are pleased with the results of the first phase of the vaccination which was conducted in November 2014.  Eighty per cent of all school going children below the age of 5 years in Dubai received this vaccine. We encourage parents and schools to ensure they keep us the same momentum in the second phase and ensure every child that received the first dose of the vaccine is administered the second dose. Parents are requested to bring their children’s  polio vaccination card when they visit the health centres. Moreover, those children that missed the first dose of the vaccine can also take the second dose, either through the school clinics or through any of DHA’s primary healthcare centres.”

Hundred and sixteen schools in Dubai are part of this campaign and provided the polio vaccine in school campuses.  The remaining 53 schools in Dubai notified parents of the various health centres where the vaccination can be obtained and will continue to do so during the second phase.

Al Behandy said that DHA provided additional training for 116 schools that have vaccine qualified clinics so that they can effectively administer the polio vaccine in school campuses. Training was also provided to all vaccine administrators at the DHA’s primary healthcare centres and Hatta Hospital.

She added that all other schools in were informed to notify parents to take their children to the nearest health centre to obtain the polio vaccine. She also said all nurseries are encouraged to inform parents about this free-of-cost National Polio Vaccination campaign.

Dr Abdulla Alrasasi, Specialist Registrar, Preventive Services Section, and Primary Healthcare at the DHA, urged parents to bring their children to get the polio vaccination to further protect children from developing the disease. He said: “In 2013 and 2014, some neighbouring countries that were polio free have reported new cases of polio. To ensure the disease is not imported into the country and to strengthen the immunity of children in the UAE against polio, it is important to conduct the campaign and vaccinate all children under the age of five years.”

He added: “Parents need to ensure both the doses are given for maximum protection against the disease. All 14 primary healthcare centres and Hatta hospital’s childcare clinic will provide the vaccine so parents can go to the closest health centre to vaccinate their children. The vaccine is given in the form of oral droplets and is proven to be safe and effective according to the World Health Organization.”

He added: “It doesn’t matter if your child is a visitor, citizen or resident. This campaign is open to all and is free of charge. No medical insurance or health card is necessary.”

For more information on the campaign and the included centres residents can call the ministry’s toll-free number 800-11111 or visit their website.