War is the perfect environment for disease to spread. With many hospitals and clinics in Yemen bombed or abandoned, it’s estimated one child dies every ten minutes from a preventable disease.
With no end in sight to the conflict, UNICEF and our partners are responding at a massive scale. Last year, we conducted campaigns to combat cholera outbreaks in high risk areas, including in places where other health services have been cut off by the fighting.
Door-to-door, they reached over 1.5 million people under extremely harsh conditions. Over 4.6 million children were vaccinated against polio and more than 731,000 children under one against measles.
Each vaccinator has incredible resolve in crossing battle lines, mountains and valleys to vaccinate children. More children die from preventable diseases in Yemen than in the violence, so we simply can’t afford to stop.
UNICEF’s vaccines had to cross rough terrain for a measles, rubella and polio vaccination campaign in some of the most difficult-to-reach parts of PNG after the 2018 earthquake. © UNICEF/UN0292490/UN0292492/Holt
Diseases can also spread with deadly speed in the aftermath of a natural disaster, when children struggle to find safe drinking water, toilets and soap.
After a massive earthquake in Papua New Guinea in 2018, UNICEF supported a nationwide vaccination campaign to protect children from measles, rubella, and polio. That meant trekking through mountainous, jungle terrain to reach the children hardest hit at the epicentre of the quake.
Almost 1.3 million children under five were vaccinated against polio, while 1.2 million children were immunised against measles and rubella.