Today, Sunday, the Yemeni government, in cooperation with the “UNICEF” and the World Health Organization, launched a comprehensive vaccination campaign against polio, targeting 1.290 thousand children under the age of five in 12 governorates, amid widespread local and international concern about the resurgence of the dangerous Pandemic, after 227 cases of infection were recorded among children. Since 2021, in the areas controlled by the Houthi militia.
Yemeni Minister of Health, Qassem Buhaibeh, said that more than ten thousand health personnel are participating in the campaign, which aims, over a three-day period, to reach more than a million homes.
He expressed his hope that parents would prompt their children to take these booster doses, “even for those who were vaccinated, whether routinely or through previous booster campaigns, because polio has become a serious disease that threatens society,” he said.
For his part, UNICEF Deputy Resident Representative in Yemen Shadrach Omol warned that 227 cases of polio have been confirmed in Yemen since November 2021.
He stressed that these infections could have been prevented had vaccines been taken, while “we are now seeking to avoid additional new cases.” “As we continue our fight against polio, we need to redouble our efforts to strengthen the primary health care system, through which routine immunization is delivered, among other life-saving services,” he said.
The UN official also expressed concern about an alarming increase in the number of people infected with measles across the country. “Our goal is to ensure that no child is left behind and that no children are left without a dose,” he said.
This comes in conjunction with regional and international fears of a resurgence of the viral Pandemic, following the recording of dozens of infections in areas controlled by the Houthi militia, which is leading organized incitement campaigns against immunization campaigns and vaccinations, claiming that it is a “global conspiracy to diminish humanity, and a Jewish idea aimed at investment and trade.”
According to government reports, 228 confirmed cases of mutated poliovirus type 2 were recorded in Yemen during the past two years.
Most of these cases were concentrated in the governorates of Sana’a, Dhamar, Hodeidah, Saada, Ibb, Hajjah, Al-Bayda, and Amran, in the center and north of the country, which are under the control of the Houthi militia.
The Yemeni government, the Houthi militia, has repeatedly held the consequences of preventing immunization teams from reaching hotspots of polio outbreaks in the governorates of Saada and Hajjah, as it has monitored since 2021 an increasing spread of polio cases after Yemen announced the elimination of this disease in 2006.
Recently, the Houthi militia escalated its campaigns against vaccines, as the militia leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, accused the Americans of “selling unsafe medicines and vaccines that cause health symptoms and spread among societies.”
Earlier, the Houthi militia acknowledged the escalation of polio cases in its areas of control, while it continues to obstruct immunization campaigns against the Pandemic.
The Houthi militia has admitted that more than 800 children were infected with polio during the past eight months of last year, according to data issued by the Ministry of Health and Population of the internationally unrecognized Houthi militia government.