Exclusive: Poliomyelitis is one of the most lethal and fastest-spreading diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has placed it in the vaccine program because of its danger to the future of the societies, their health structure and the future of their generations. After the fight against the disease by international organizations and encircling it by means of vaccine and prevention methods; the disease was largely eradicated. The year of 2003 marked the end of the disease in the world and only a few cases were reported in Nigeria and Afghanistan.
However, the disease has returned to Deir Ezzor, where several cases have appeared in the city and its countryside. Dr. Imad al-Mustafa, the responsible of the vaccination campaigns in Deir Ezzor after 2011, speaks about these cases of disease: ‘’In 2013 several cases of disease appeared in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor in Subaykhan area, where 74 suspected cases were tested and 12 were confirmed, they were diagnosed with laboratory tests. So we hurried to form mobile patrols that carry out their duty from house to house, where in such a situation the fixed centers do not serve you well. The campaign lasted for six months, where a delegation from the World Health Organization came and stayed in the region for three months until the disease was besieged and prevented its spread.
These operations and vaccination campaigns stopped with the arrival of Daesh to the area, where I was arrested for a month, and then in February 2015 Daesh has allowed a mobile vaccine campaign that moves from house to house, and the campaign was monitored remotely. The number of people receiving vaccines was announced by the centers, where the number of people eligible for the vaccine was 213,000, while only 50,000 were vaccinated. A problem happened that there was a fraud in the numbers and we did not know its source, but through the follow-up we were able to know that not all the real numbers required have been vaccinated.
After that, Daesh allowed some unstable and infrequent campaigns of vaccination, they were carried out every two or three months, all of them were in fixed centers which do not give an effective result, because they cannot vaccinate all the children due to the inability of those children to access the centers of vaccines. The vaccine campaigns have been completely suspended by Daesh since July 2016 and no vaccination campaigns have been conducted.
It is no secret that Deir Ezzor is considered a contaminated area and there is a halt to its vaccination campaigns, so it was obvious that the disease would come back. A few days ago, the disease reappeared and 33 cases have been documented, including 25 registered by names in Deir Ezzor and its villages, most of them in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor. There is full documentation of the names and also videos available about the cases. The other evidence is; the disease appeared again now in the same area where the disease was discovered in 2013, where 22 cases has been registered in that area which is considered the center of the epidemic.
The region is facing a difficult health situation. There is no health care, no medical attention, and no vaccines. After a lot of talk about the diseases, Daesh allowed a new vaccine campaign. But the vaccine serum has been stored since the sixth month of 2016, and is a third-rate vaccine that is almost useless and does not give the desired result and is not usually used in vaccination campaigns. There is an abnormal narrowing by Daesh over those who follow up these cases and registering them, so there are difficulties in documenting them in real and complete terms. However, a number of cases have been counted and a number has been confirmed. A new concern added to the concerns of people, despite the displacement, shelling, water and electricity outage, lack of health control, and lack of real centers, and now extinct diseases spread in the form of an epidemic and threaten the children of the region and cannot be combated under this dangerous security situation. It is an alarm that must be sounded in all the international forums to save what can be saved of a slowly declining society. With the assurance that the disease will not stop at certain geographical border, but may exceed the geographical limits to reach areas may be considered safe.’’