Polio Vaccination To Commence Tomorrow

South Sudan is scheduled to conclude its last round of the 2011 polio immunization campaign from the 13th-16th December.

Polio Vaccination To Commence Tomorrow
(L-R) Dr. Abdi Aden delivering a speech before Dr. Yatta Lugor (first in row) and other associates in Juba [©Gurtong]

By Waakhe Simon Wudu
Juba, 12th December 2011 [Gurtong] - South Sudan is scheduled to conclude its last round of the 2011 polio immunization campaign from the 13th-16th December.

This will be the fourth round of the campaign after the third one ended last month with 3.2 million children vaccinated. The exercise will again target a similar population of children under the age of 5 years in all the 10 States of South Sudan.

According to the World Health Organization, (WHO) in a press conference held last Friday at the National Ministry of Health, the United Nations (UN) has since 2008 contributed nearly 20 million US dollars in an attempt to make South Sudan a polio free country.

Dr. Abdi Aden, the WHO Country Director, South Sudan said that, “the polio vaccine is a preventive measure which aims to rapidly boost the immunity status of children against the virus.”

He also said that approximately 19,000 volunteers and another 2,000 team supervisors will move from house-to-house and village-to-village across South Sudan to deliver the polio vaccine to every child under the age of 5 years.

He reiterated the continuous commitment of the WHO and UNICEF’s role to kick polio out of South Sudan.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yatta Lugor, the South Sudanese Deputy Minister for Health said that, South Sudan is at the threshold to be declared a polio free nation. However, there are still other areas to be addressed that risk polio outbreak.

He said due to joint efforts between the ministry and development partners South Sudan has not reported any case of polio virus for more than 29 continuous months with the last case reported from Aweil West County, Northern Bar El Ghazal State in June 2009.

However, he said that insecurity threats as a result of Khartoum aggression in the Upper Nile Region has greatly affected the immunization process in the past rounds, adding that many areas could not be reached logistically.

He also pointed out poor roads infrastructure hampering mobility of staffs into many areas especially in the Greater Upper Nile region during the rainy season.

Inadequate logistics, low standard of the health system and ignorance and misconceptions among some communities in the country that the vaccine is dangerous to the body cells of their children and will make them not be productive.

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