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Government-Led Initiative to Provide Vital Measles Vaccination to 7.5 Million Children Supported by UNICEF and WHO


A national campaign targeting measles, mumps, and rubella, involving the mobilization of over 30,000 health workers to halt disease transmission and safeguard lives. Baghdad, 14 April 2024 – Today, the Ministry of Health, in partnership with UNICEF and WHO, launches an extensive vaccination initiative nationwide to shield children from the contagious measles, mumps, and rubella infections. The campaign aims to reach more than 7.5 million children between 6 and 12 years old in primary schools and kindergartens and will run until 25 April 2024.

Dr. Saleh Al-Hasnawi, the Minister of Health, emphasized the significance of this campaign in eradicating the transmission of measles, a highly infectious disease. He stated, “Through our joint endeavors with UNICEF and WHO, the Ministry of Health can effectively halt the spread of the measles virus, safeguarding children’s lives through widespread vaccination.”

Dr. Saman Barzangy, the Minister of Health for the Kurdistan Region Government, highlighted the commitment to combat measles by implementing a region-wide mass vaccination campaign for school and kindergarten children to ensure the well-being of citizens and future generations.

This extensive campaign is fully supported by the Government, with technical assistance from UNICEF and WHO. More than 30,000 frontline workers will administer vaccines, raise community awareness, and oversee the campaign activities.

Ms. Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, commended the Ministry of Health’s dedication to preserving children’s lives through this nationwide immunization effort. She mentioned, “This initiative will fortify the healthcare system to provide essential services to every child in Iraq, accelerating progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3.2.”

Dr. George Alfred Ki-Zerbo, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Iraq, reiterated WHO’s commitment to collaborating with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and partners to enhance the national immunization program for universal health coverage. He stated, “Together, we are resolute in our mission to stop disease transmission, save lives, and ensure a healthier and safer future for all.”

This campaign, preceding World Immunization Week by ten days, which commemorates 50 years of the vital immunization program, underscores the life-saving impact of vaccines on children.

Vaccines have been instrumental in saving up to 3 million lives annually over the past five decades, contributing to a total of more than 130 million individuals. They have also boosted infant survival rates by 30%. Given their cost-effectiveness and efficacy, prioritizing vaccines to reach every child remains crucial.

For further information, please contact:

National Expanded Programme on Immunization, Ministry of Health
Dr. Saif Al Badr, Email: [email protected]
Dr Firas Jabbar, Email: [email protected]

UNICEF in Iraq

Monica Awad, Communication Specialist, Email: [email protected]
Zaid Fahmi, Communication Officer, Email: [email protected]
WHO in Iraq
Ajyal Sultany, Communication Officer, Email: [email protected]


UNICEF operates in some of the most challenging environments globally to reach the most marginalized children. Working across 190 countries and territories, UNICEF strives for the betterment of every child, everywhere. For more details on UNICEF and its initiatives for children, visit the UNICEF Iraq website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


WHO spearheads global endeavors to expand universal health coverage, coordinates responses to global health crises, and promotes healthier lives from prenatal care to elderly health. With the Triple Billion targets, WHO envisions a world where everyone enjoys good health through evidence-based policies and programs.