Despite risks, Lebanon is 15 years Polio-free

October 23, 2018

On the occasion of World Polio Day, the Ministry of Public Health projected a mail stamp over the National Museum of Beirut, dedicated to the disease and launched in 2017 for the 15th anniversary of polio-free Lebanon. 


The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Public Health and the Director-General of the Ministry of Health, the National Polio Certification Committee headed by Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Bizri and the Scientific Committee of the National Immunization Program, represented by Dr. Bernard Garbaka, Dr. Bassem Abu Mari and Dr. Joseph Rushdi. Other attendees represented the private and public health sectors, representatives of international organizations in Lebanon, MoPH partner UNICEF, and representatives of the scientific committees of the Lebanese Medical Association.


Caretaker Minister Hasbani expressed his eagerness to "work for the human being until the government's last breath, especially if this person is a child in need of care", pointing out that "Lebanon has been able to get rid of poliomyelitis for more than fifteen years, which is a major achievement to the long-term vision of the Ministry of Public Health and the cooperation with international organizations, local institutions, civil society, and the private sector. "Despite the difficult circumstances and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Syrians where polio still manifests, our teams offered vaccines on Lebanese territory and borders around the clock. Thus, the Lebanese community has been secured from paralysis."


"Every fifteen years of an event is a historical record. Today, we can record poliomyelitis in history". "We chose the National Museum, which has a national historical value in the heart of Beirut, to light the slogan of the campaign in special colors, and to remind people of the need to vaccinate their children from paralysis."


"This is thanks to the success of the vaccination program and its association with partnerships with the doctors' syndicate, the supervising scientific committee, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the private sector institutions," Ammar said, referring to a 15-year period and a polio-free Lebanon, as well as the ministry's insistence on the receipt of vaccines with the highest quality standards".


On the occasion of World Polio Day, the Ministry of Public Health projected a mail stamp over the National Museum of Beirut, dedicated to the disease and launched in 2017 for the 15th anniversary of polio-free Lebanon. 



Dr. Al-Bizri also spoke on behalf of the National Polio Certification Committee and referred to "the success of the Lebanese experience in the field of poliomyelitis." He described this success as "great achievement" and congratulated "all those responsible for the vaccination program in the Ministry of Public Health".


The ceremony comes as a first step in a series of community activities organized by the Ministry of Public Health - the National Network for Primary Health Care with the support of Pfizer and S4D for implementation of communications through primary health care centers spread throughout Lebanon and its partners in the private sector. These activities include competitions between university students and community-based organizations, educational and recreational activities, mobile clinics to vaccinate children in remote areas, awareness-raising workshops and an information campaign to be announced eventually.


About the National Immunization Program


Through the National Immunization Program, the Ministry of Public Health seeks to ensure the right of every child to immunization and to protect against diseases with effective and safe vaccines. The primary health care department aims to raise the level of routine immunization in order to maintain Lebanon free of poliomyelitis, particularly in light of the continuing crisis of displacement. It also aims to eradicate measles and rubella by the end of 2020.


The Ministry of Public Health provides basic vaccines free of charge to all children (ages 0 to 18 years) in all health centers and clinics in Lebanon. Scientific and technical aspects of the program are co-sponsored by a committee of academic experts and private sector experts as well as support from WHO and UNICEF.


The vaccine is available free of charge at all health centers and dispensaries and follows the standards of the World Health Organization. It is secured through UNICEF, where the Ministry of Public Health monitors annual amounts of vaccine purchases. Lebanon has been ranked the fifth country in the world with a certificate of excellence in the vaccine cold chain.

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