This August IRD led the effort to administer polio vaccinations to all the Syrian refugee children under age 5 in the Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan. The activity required the coordinated efforts of 120 trained volunteer healthcare workers, who canvassed the camp district by district to ensure all children were reached and vaccinated.
To prepare for the intensive campaign, IRD first trained the volunteers, all of whom were Syrian refugees with a health background. They then spent a day of outreach to inform the community about the campaign and its importance.
The volunteers worked closely UNHCR and the Jordan Ministry of Health to visit each child, collect data from the family, provide the vaccination, mark the home to show it had been visited, and give the family reminders of the vaccination date. To end the campaign, each outreach team spent the last day double-checking their areas to make such no child had been overlooked.
In five days, the IRD Health Committee had exceeded its vaccination goal – reaching more than 16,000 children under age five.
“Polio is a devastating disease, and in close quarters like Za’atari we need more than 90 percent vaccination coverage to prevent an outbreak,” said Dr. Uma Kandalayeva, IRD Jordan country director. “With the help of our knowledgeable and committed volunteers, we were able to move quickly to reach vulnerable children with vaccine that protects them and their families.”