New York, US (PANA) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said about 180 countries and territories were for the first time carrying out simultaneous UN-backed immunization campaigns this week, targeting diseases such as influenza, measles, polio and tetanus.
A WHO statement, made available to PANA in New York on Tuesday, said the Immunization Week, which began Saturday, was taking place across the five WHO regions of Africa, the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and the Western Pacific.
WHO's Director-General Margaret Chan, said: "I believe the Immunization Week will have a significant impact on emphasizing the need to remain vigilant against vaccine-preventable diseases – even those that we do not see within our communities."
Chan stated that, "over the course of the week, outreach teams will visit communities with limited access to regular health services such as those living in remote areas, urban fringes and internally-displaced people, to administer vaccines."
She also disclosed that, "vaccinations will be provided to protect against diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, maternal and neonatal tetanus, polio, rubella, whooping cough and yellow fever.
"Other activities included training sessions and workshops for health workers, as well as round-table discussions with political decision-makers, medical professionals, parents and care-givers,'' Chan noted.
The WHO chief, however, said: "Even with all the positive cooperation, innovation and collaboration that exist, we are at risk of losing many of the gains that have been made and forgoing the additional benefits that are within reach.
"The recent outbreaks of measles, pertussis and polio in different parts of the world have highlighted the work that remains to be done,'' she added.
-0- PANA AA/BOS 26April2011