EES Confident Of Eradicating Polio

The polio vaccinators in Eastern Equatoria State (EES) administering the vaccines to both school and street children. [Gurtong]

The state health officials through the state Ministry of Health is continuing with an emergency campaign to vaccinate about 100,000 children under the age of 15 years in the state.

Expected to conclude by coming Monday 28, the health ministry launched the statewide campaign against the deadly polio virus on Tuesday 22, October 2013.

The move follows a diagnosis of a child in the state with a reported crippling and potentially deadly polio disease last month. In a bid to eliminate the virus, the national Health Ministry has embarked on rigorous polio vaccination campaign in country.

The State Health Minister Dr. Margaret Itto Leonardo has reiterated the appeal to parents to ensure their children are all vaccinated against polio.

The state health ministry according to Dr. Itto has dispatched vaccinators and supervisors to the various counties for the polio immunization campaign. Mothers in the state have been advised to shun negative attitudes that have contributed to high mortality levels.

The strategies for this campaign include door to door Polio vaccination with four doses of the oral polio vaccine (OPV) in the first year of life, routine immunization with OPV and organization of ‘National Immunization Days’ to provide supplementary doses to all children less than five years of age and active surveillance of the wild poliovirus through reporting and laboratory testing of all cases of acute flaccid paralysis among children less than 15 years.

The campaign is supported by United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO). According to UNICEF’s Acting Programme Coordinator Alex Santo, the move aims at improving the fight against the polio virus in the region. 

Santo said cases of polio outbreaks and the threats have increased in May, June and July this year in Somalia and Kenya.

The global effort against polio begun in 1988 and was led by WHO, UNICEF and the Rotary Foundation. Its prevalence has since reduced from the hundreds of thousands to 291 in 2012 – a 99.9% reduction. India is the latest country to successfully stop transmission of polio.

Polio is a highly infectious, crippling and fatal disease caused by virus. The Polio virus is found in feaces transmitted through eating or drinking contaminated food and water. It has no cure but can be prevented through consistent vaccination and ensuring children receive all the doses of vaccination at the nearest health centre, dispose all feaces into latrine; wash hands with soap before preparing and serving the child and after visiting latrine and washing the child’s diapers.

The signs and symptoms of polio include fever, weakness, headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, pain in the leg and irreversible paralysis of the leg.

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