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Policy: Health Care

UN undertakes polio vaccination campaign in Iraq

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Photo - An Iraqi internally displaced Yazidi child receives a polio vaccine at the town of Khanke, outside Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. The Yazidis are a centuries-old religious minority viewed as apostates by the Islamic State group, which has claimed mass killings of its opponents in Syria and Iraq. Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled earlier this month when the Islamic State group captured the town of Sinjar, near the Syrian border. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
An Iraqi internally displaced Yazidi child receives a polio vaccine at the town of Khanke, outside Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. The Yazidis are a centuries-old religious minority viewed as apostates by the Islamic State group, which has claimed mass killings of its opponents in Syria and Iraq. Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled earlier this month when the Islamic State group captured the town of Sinjar, near the Syrian border. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
News,World,Iraq,Health Care,United Nations

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — The United Nations says it is undertaking a mass polio vaccination campaign in Iraq, hoping to reach millions of children.

Jeffery Bates of the U.N.'s child agency, UNICEF, says it is trying to reach 4 million children under 5 throughout Iraq. The campaign was launched after two cases of polio were discovered in Baghdad earlier this year.

Bates says the polio case in Iraq likely crossed over from Syria, where the country's civil war has disrupted its health care system and some children have not been immunized against the highly contagious virus that can paralyze or kill.

Bates says the U.N. is struggling to reach children in territory held by militants of the Islamic State group, which have seized large swaths of Iraq, including its second-largest city of Mosul.

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