November 23, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has announced that in collaboration with its partners, a sub-regional polio campaign targeting eight high risk districts will commence this Friday, November 24.
According to Programme Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in the health ministry, Dr. Dennis Marke, during the course of the four-day campaign free polio vaccines would be administered to children under the age of five years.
He stated that a weekly surveillance of acute flaccid paralysis carried out in the field had discovered that eight districts – Kambia, Bombali, Port Loko, Bo, Bonthe, Kailahun and Western Area Urban and Rural – were at high risk of the polio virus.
“The eight districts which we will target during this sub-regional campaign are at high risk with huge number of unimmunised children. 764,817 children will be vaccinated during this campaign,” he said.
He disclosed that with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a total of 125,000 viral with twenty doses each has been procured for the campaign.
“Polio virus causes a lifetime paralysis of a child. It is important during this campaign, parents and guardians make their children available for the vaccine,” he said, and urged against refusal to take the vaccine as it is the only protective measure from the virus.
Dr. Marke noted that the country was very close to eradicating the virus, with the last case of polio reported in 2010, but urged against complacency.
With regards the last polio campaign, the programme manager described it as a great success because an average of 97.9% national coverage was recorded.
WHO’s EPI Team Coordinator, Dr. William Mbabazi, stated that a single case of polio should be a concern as it has the potential of spreading to other parts of the country.
He urged all and sundry to remain vigilant until the country is declared a polio free nation by WHO.