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South Sudan launch a campaign to immunize over 1.5 children across 45 counties

Nov 15, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan launched a campaign on Wednesday, aimed at vaccinating 1.5 million children against rare, vaccine-derived polio virus.

Child undergoing a vaccination in South Sudan (Photo credit: Supplied/Nyamilepedia)
Child undergoing a vaccination in South Sudan (Photo credit: Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

To stem the outbreak, The Ministry of Health formed an emergency task force comprising of the World Health Organization, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners for a quick response and to increase surveillance to stem the polio outbreak after several cases were reported in some of South Sudan’s states.

Over 1.5 M children are expected to be vaccinated to protect them against the vaccine-derived polio virus type 2 in 45 counties across the states of Warrap, Lakes, Eastern Equatoria, Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal where cases have been confirmed.

“There is a lot of love in every needle prick, that is how we are protecting the next generation”, said UNICEF South Sudan Representative, Mohamed Ayoya. 

The ministry urged parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated.

“I urge all parents to take their children for polio vaccination including those who have already been vaccinated”, encouraged the country’s Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achue.

“It is safe to receive an additional dose and we want to make sure every child is protected,” she added.

According to WHO, less than 50% of children in South Sudan are immunized against polio and other life-threatening diseases, putting them at risk of lifelong disability and death.  

WHO added that widespread displacement and continual population movements compounded with COVID-19 restrictions, have further aggravated the country’s immunization coverage and have exacerbated children’s vulnerability to polio, especially those in hard-to-reach areas. 

The campaign will provide a greater opportunity for vulnerable population to receive critical interventions that could avert life threatening disease such as disability from poliomyelitis.

The UNICEF South Sudan Representative, Mohamed Ayoya asked the people to be vigilant to ensure that all children take the routine immunization.

“Immunization is a must and complacency can kill”, the UNICEF representative underscored. “We must ensure all children in South Sudan are taken for routine immunization, which includes the polio vaccine, so this doesn’t happen again when the outbreak is curbed”.

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