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Yemen launches nationwide polio immunization campaign targeting 5 million children

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Yemen children
Middle East   Supported by the World Health Organization

Yemen's health authorities launched a national polio immunization campaign targeting over 5 million children across the war-torn country.

Supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the UNICEF and other agencies, the campaign was inaugurated simultaneously in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and other provinces.

The three-day vaccination process went from house to house to immunize children under the age of five.

"The campaign aims to keep Yemen polio-free," WHO said in a statement.

The impoverished Arab country has been devastated by deadly war and all-out blockade since March 2015.

The war pits the Yemeni internationally recognized government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, against the Iran-allied Shiite Houthi rebels who seized control of the capital Sanaa and much of the country's north in late 2014.

The war has killed more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, displaced 3 million others, triggering the world's biggest humanitarian and economic crisis that pushed over 25 million people to the brink of famine, according to UN humanitarian agencies.

Meanwhile, the cholera epidemic has infected more than 1.2 million Yemenis since April 2017, killing 2,515, mostly children, according to the latest WHO data.

Some 1.8 million Yemeni children are malnourished and vulnerable to diseases, with nearly 400,000 of them at risk of death from acute malnutrition, said UNICEF.

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