July 10, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
As part of efforts by the Sierra Leone government to stem vaccine preventable diseases, maintain polio eradication and achieve universal birth registration, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation would from July 10 to 13 inoculate over one million children between the ages of 0 and 5 years with the polio vaccine, and as well carry out free birth registration nationwide.
This was disclosed Tuesday by the Programme Manager of Child Health in the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), Dr. Dennis Marke. He said the object of the exercise was to achieve Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV) and birth registration coverage of at least 95% in the respective target populations.
“Our goal is to reduce maternal mortality and child mortality rate in the country,” said Dr. Marke. “The addition of the birth registration is very important because data from the Births and Deaths [Secretariat] shows that over three thousand (3,000) births were not registered.”
He described polio as a “silent killer disease” which also causes paralysis, and can easily be spread in communities if not prevented.
“It is the right of every child to be vaccinated regardless of the number of previous polio marklates they had received,” he said. “We will make sure that we have a number of teams that would administer the vaccine to children and as well award them birth certificates.”
According to senior government Information Officer, Dan Parkinson, the focus of the integrated OPV and birth registration campaign was to reach as many children as possible; an effort he said was aimed at complementing the routine health service delivery.
He said routine vaccines will be administered to all children as “health is wealth” and “is the most paramount thing for every human being”.