Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique will join Malawi in the second round of a regional mass polio vaccination for children under five years beginning end of April.
Dr Saumya Anand, Unicef’s eastern and southern Africa regional coordinator for polio, told The EastAfrican last week that the trans-border vaccination will start on April 21.
“The subsequent campaign planned in April will be nationwide in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia and is expected to reach over 20 million children in total,” Mr Anand said.
He said the first round of vaccinations last month targeted nine million children, but there were interruptions in Malawi due to unforeseen storms.
The first round was launched following reports in February that a three-year-old girl was paralysed by wild poliovirus in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe. Polio has no cure.
“Africa has witnessed the first case of wild polio after a lapse of half of a decade and Unicef in collaboration with governments, the World Health Organization and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative among other partners are attempting to stop the virus in its tracks,” Mr Anand said.
He warned that the disease can “spread fast, cause avoidable deaths and paralysis.”