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Keen Efforts to Restore Polio-Free Syria: Health Minister

DAMASCUS, (ST)-Keen efforts are being exerted by the health sector to restore a polio-free Syria, Health Minister Sa'ad al-Nayef stressed on Tuesday as he was inspecting a Damascus health center carrying out the ministry's fifth Anti-Polio Vaccination Campaign launched across the country.

Talking to the press, the minister said "the campaign goes well in all Syrian provinces," pointing out that the number of children who have got vaccinated reached a very good level.

"We aim to achieve the highest rate possible in vaccination to make Syria free of polio again," Al-Nayef said hailing the Syrian families' growing awareness which allowed the health staff to reach as many children as possible even in difficult areas.

Salah Haythami, a WHO expert in Polio, said the vaccination campaign is part of the regional response to the emergence of polio cases in Syria and recently in Iraq.

"Countries, including Syria, Iraq and Egypt, have launched vaccination campaigns targeting more than 20 million kids aiming to minimize the danger of virus spread in other countries or regions," Haythami added.

He pointed out that after having the six Vaccination campaigns achieved in May, the WHO in cooperation with the health ministry of Syria will make an all-out assessment of all the campaigns and on the basis of the results a plan for the second half of this year will be drawn up.

H. Mustafa