United States Supports National Polio Immunization Campaign

Cairo – Today the Egyptian Ministry of Health launched the 2015 National Polio Immunization Campaign to provide the first of two phases of polio vaccinations to up to 14.8 million children under the age of five. The U.S. government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting the logistics and operations of the campaign to help Egypt sustain its polio-free status.

“The American people rejoiced with the Egyptian people in 2006 when Egypt was declared polio-free,” said Sherry F. Carlin, USAID/Egypt Mission Director. “USAID and the Ministry of Health are committed to keeping Egypt polio-free through this annual immunization campaign.”

Two doses of oral polio vaccine protect young children from being infected with this crippling disease. The last case of polio in Egypt was in May 2004, and Egypt was declared a polio-free country in 2006. Since then, no single case of polio has been detected in Egypt; however, the total number of cases globally has increased in recent years, and 75 percent of reported cases are in the eastern Mediterranean region. The Ministry of Health is conducting two rounds of a national polio immunization campaign this year, in April and October.

Over the past forty years, the U.S. government through USAID has worked with the Egyptian people to achieve significant, positive results that have improved the lives of millions. In addition to helping to eliminate polio, the American people have contributed to health projects that have led to an 80 percent reduction in infant mortality; job creation projects that have led to new or better full-time employment for over 40,000 people over the past two years; and infrastructure projects that have provided water, electricity, and telephone services to nearly all of Egypt. These projects are part of the nearly $30 billion that the American people, through USAID, have invested in Egypt since 1975.