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Press Centre (12/2013)

Syrian Families Staying in Camps across Turkey welcome Polio Vaccination Campaign

GAZIANTEP, Turkey / November 2013 - As a family, we are very happy for our children to be vaccinated against polio. The reason for many diseases is the children?s lack of vaccination.? says Taibe Abdülmecid Ismail. Taibe, who had to flee the Syrian city of Edlib andtake refuge in Turkey is one of many mothers bringing their children to be vaccinated... The mother of six children, 4 daughters and 2 sons, shared her views on vaccination campaign while waiting with her two babies, one 11-month and other 2, for their turn to see the health workers.

To the question on how she was informed about the vaccination campaign, she answers at once: ”Through the frequent announcements made by speakers during the day in the camp.”

Taibe, who expressed satisfaction with health services provided in the camp, says that “The vaccines are being supplied to prevent the disease. We already had missing inoculations due to the conflict. These missing vaccines are being supplemented with this campaign.”

Taibe and her family are one of thousand refugees housed near the village of Nizip, in Gaziantep in South East Turkey. She is one of a crowd of people in front of the hospital located in Nizip 2 camp that is hosting Syrian refugees.

Parents, mostly women, with their children in arms wait unhurriedly and silently for their turn.

An Arabic language poster hangs in the entrance of hospital inviting Syrians to vaccinate their children.

The ones who enter, after the proceedings in registration desk, then have their children vaccinated by doctors and nurses waiting for them inside. All the families seem happy with this vaccination campaign because they have already noticed that it is crucial for their children’s health and future.

After both children without a tear being shed were vaccinated, Taibe returns to the container she is staying happy that she has been able to fulfill her responsibility as a mother.

Polio Vaccination Campaign from the Point of a Father

Ayman Ghojal, from Damascus, who initially fled Syria for Egypt Egypt one year has been in Nizip camp with his family for a month. Ayman thinks that this campaign is a “great idea.”Hehas brought his three daughters to be vaccinated. Ayman says that all his children’s vaccines had been completed before leaving Syria but since that date, he has not had the chance to vaccinate his daughters.

He expresses that, as a father, he is happy to have his children vaccinated again with this campaign.

About Polio Vaccination Campaign and the Camp

As part of the polio vaccination campaign launched in partnership between Turkish Government’s Ministry of Health, UNICEF and WHO, vaccinations are being undertaken in 7 cities across Turkey for Turkish and foreign children aged under 5. In the first round of the campaign, 1.3 million children were vaccinated and the campaign will continue with a second round in December.

Gaziantep, one of the border cities between Turkey and Syria, is one of 10 cities across Turkey hosting the camps prepared for Syrian guests. The village of Nizip in Gaziantep, which is very close to Syrian border, is hosting two camps. One of these camps, Nizip 2, hosts 5,500 people in the containers located inside the camp.

Story and photos by Ayberk Yurtsever

UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org