Humanitarian Health Action

I have polio

WHO Somalia/KMC

"I have polio" tells the story of two Somali children. Back in 2007, Mustafa got affected by polio, a crippling disease that is caused by a virus. Despite the fact that one of his legs is paralyzed, he enjoys playing soccer with his friends. Another polio victim, Saynab Abdi Ilmi, 10 years old, has both legs paralyzed. Although she is not going to school, her brother is teaching her the Quran at home.

Polio does not differentiate between rich and poor, urban and rural people or boys and girls. Everyone is at risk, especially children younger than five years old. Because there is no cure for polio, the best protection is prevention by prior vaccination. For as little as half a US dollar, a child can be vaccinated and protected for life against this crippling disease. Since both children got polio back in 2007, no single Somali child got ever affected by this disease. The country has remained polio free since then.

Every year during the National Immunization Days, about 1,8 million Somali children under the age of five get at least twice two polio drops. This campaign is spearheaded by health authorities at national and local levels, in collaboration with WHO, UNICEF, other polio eradication partners and the Somali communities.