Polio Vaccine Starts in Sierra Leone
The Child Health/Expanded Programme on Immunization in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation will today launched the first round of National Immunization Days (NIDS) at the Janneh Wright Clinic east of Freetown during which period mothers are expected to bring their children at the center for polio vaccine.
Addressing Journalists at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation conference room, Youyi Building, Brookfields in Freetown, the Deputy Programme Manager Child Health/Expanded Programme on Immunization in the Ministry Mariama Murray said the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support from its partners, WHO and UNICEF has been working tirelessly over the years in a drive to eradicate the polio virus in the shores of Sierra Leone.
Madam Mariama Murray further disclosed that, the last case of polio was recorded in 2010 and since then the programme through the ministry have been undertaken synchronized campaigns throughout the sub-region in order to battle this infection that causes paralysis in children.
‘‘We have been given WHO prequalified vaccines procured through UNICEF which are safe for use and have not recorded significant adverse effect since they started these campaigns.’’ She revealed.
The Deputy Programme Manager went on to informed that during the Ebola outbreak, they had a low coverage of vaccinations but since last year they had the support of their partners and the media to disseminate the message of NIDs to mothers which caused them to have an increase in their coverage as the programme engaged in default tracing along with the NID.
She also reminded the public that the national immunization days starts today 24th February 2017 and will end on 28th February and launched on the 28th Feb adding that the immunization will take place in every district and the target is children 0-59 months and the number of children in this age group is 1,529,000 projected from the 2015 census.
Madam Murray however called on mothers to use this opportunity to get their children vaccinated with safe and valuable vaccines to be protected from polio.
She admitted the high cost of organizing campaigns
Dr. Ben Coker who represented the Health Education division in the ministry said until the country is declared free from polio the division will not relent in its campaigns.
UN rep Tikue Girmay stop polio transmission consultant UNICEF appealed to stakeholder for support to kick polio from Sierra Leone.
Question and answer session formed the high point of the conference.
By Amadu S. Kargbo
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