KHARTOUM, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Sudan's Ministry Health has launched a polio vaccination campaign targeting around 3 million children nationwide.
The campaign, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, commenced on Monday, and covers 10 Sudanese states: Khartoum, Northern, Nahral-Neel, Red Sea, North Kordofan, West Darfur, South Darfur, North Darfur, East Darfur and Central Darfur.
"The Sudanese government has undertaken the responsibility to keep Sudan free of polio to reach the global goal," Sudanese Health Minister Bahar Idris Abu Garada said in a joint statement with WHO and UNICEF.
He described the campaign as "very important," commending the efforts of all health workers, as well as the international community and health partners for supporting Sudan's vaccination activities, in order to ensure the access of life-saving vaccines to children.
According to Naeema Al-Gasser, WHO representative in Sudan, Sudan has remained polio-free since 2009.
However, the danger remains because Sudan has received refugees from high-risk countries, Al-Gasser noted.
She said vaccination is the responsibility of both individuals and countries, highlighting the vaccination of all target children.
Al-Gasser reaffirmed WHO's commitment to meeting all campaign requirements including vaccines and vehicle fuel.
Meanwhile, Siddiq El-Tayeb, director of the immunization directorate of Sudan's health ministry, revealed that there would be another campaign in November covering 17 states.
UNICEF said in the statement that the vaccines used in the campaign amount to 5 million doses, along with 5 million doses of vitamin A, adding that the cost of the vaccines is 4 million U.S dollars which was provided by the donor partners.
The WHO declared Sudan polio-free in 2015, where no polio infection case has been recorded since March 15, 2009.
However, Sudan remains a country exposed to polio as it shares borders with many countries where the disease spreads.