1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Somalia

Thousands at risk of polio in Somalia’s port city of Kismayo

Child in Chad receiving the polio vaccine
(UNICEF Chad/2011/Esteve)

An estimated 135,000 children are at risk of polio in Somalia’s port city of Kismayo, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Three years ago, Al-Shabab insurgents banned polio vaccination in Kismayo and other parts of central Somalia.

“One of the key concerns… is the potential for a polio outbreak given the Al-Shabab ban on polio vaccination three years ago. All children born since then and a number of older children have also not been vaccinated. Southern and central regions of Somalia, in particular, are characterized by low coverage rates of routine vaccinations due to inaccessibility and conflict,” OCHA said in its latest bulletin.

Aid agencies say they are preparing for a vaccination campaign targeting at least 135,000 children in Somalia’s Juba regions.

Officials told IRIN further vaccinations would also be conducted as soon as access to southern and central Somalia is secured.

“If the inaccessible areas of south and central Somalia become accessible, we expect to reach an additional 800,000 under-five kids that have not been vaccinated in the last three years,” Pieter Desloovere, a communications and donor relations officer at the World Health Organization, told IRIN by email.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Help make quality journalism about crises possible

The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in 1995. We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more.


Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector accountable and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We’re on the ground, reporting from the front lines, to bring you the inside story. 


We keep our journalism free – no paywalls – thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world. Your contribution means we can continue delivering award-winning journalism about crises.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian today

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.