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Tuesday, 28 March, 2000, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Iraq starts nation-wide polio vaccination campaign

The Iraqi health ministry has started a five-day nationwide campaign to vaccinate 3.5 million children under the age of five against polio.

The vaccines were bought under the oil-for-food programme which allows Iraq to buy certain essential items, thereby avoiding trade sanctions imposed after the Gulf War.

The United Nations children's agency, Unicef, and the World Health Organisation, declared Iraq polio free in 1990, just before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

But polio, a disease causing childhood paralysis, began to reappear in the mid-1990s.

Last year, 77 cases were detected in Iraq. The second round of vaccination starts on 25 April.

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