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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Namibia launches mass polio drive
People lining up for polio vaccine
People in the capital began queuing before 0800
Health workers in Namibia have started a three-day campaign to vaccinate the entire population against polio.

The drive comes a month after the country's first polio outbreak in a decade, which has killed 15 people.

Most of the victims were aged over 20 and had missed out on childhood inoculations carried out since 1990, when Namibia gained independence.

The BBC's Frauke Jensen says nobody is exempt and even tourists are being asked to take the free immunisation.

Our correspondent says hundreds of people turned up at vaccination points across the capital, Windhoek, before 0800 to receive their oral vaccine drops.

Some health workers were up at 0300 sorting out vaccine packs as mobile teams prepared to move house-to house in certain areas, she says.

'No resistance'

Health Minister Richard Kamwi said more than 6,000 officials and volunteers were being deployed in what he described as the largest exercise of its kind in Namibia.

There has been no resistance to the campaign, organised by the ministry of health and the World Health Organization, our reporter says.

On the eve of the launch, first lady Penehupifo Pohamba said all 2.5m Namibians will be targeted, even those already immunised.

"Even if your child or yourself was immunised yesterday or before, you will be immunised during the campaign, so that you and your child can be protected against polio disease," the Namibian newspaper quotes her as saying.

There has been a widespread media campaign encouraging people to take the vaccine and thousands of pamphlets have been leafleted around Windhoek.


SEE ALSO
Namibia suffers polio 'setback'
06 Jun 06 |  Africa
Q&A: Polio
31 May 05 |  Medical notes
UN launches key anti-polio push
08 Oct 04 |  Africa
Africa 'faces new polio threat'
24 Aug 04 |  Health

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