Feb 26, 2021(Nyamilepedia) — A second phase of administering the Polio vaccine has been rolled out in South Sudan in a desperate bid to curb and tame the blades of the disease’s impact.
According to the Ministry of health, this second phase of the campaign is targeting 2.8 million South Sudanese children.
“With the support from the Global Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, the country is conducting the second round of Nationwide Monovalent Oral Poliovirus Type 2 (MOPV2) campaign not only to stop the outbreak but also to ensure the country remains polio-free while removing the routine immunization coverage,” said Dr. Atem Nathan who is the Director General for Primary Health Care. He went ahead to urge all caregivers to allow their children to be vaccinated by the house to house teams that have been dispatched.
The polio outbreak was first declared on 18th September 2020 and then later rapidly spread to 17 other counties in all the states. Currently Warrap and Western Bahr El Ghazal states are the most affected with 39 cases of vaccine-derived poliomyelitis reported.
Despite the Country’s first attempt to try to combat the disease in the first wave which was administered in two phases, they fell short of delivering to the entirety of the target that had been set. They were only able to reach 1.1 million missing out their original target by over 100,000.
In an attempt to create wide spread awareness, the youngest nation in the world has intensified the dissemination of messages using a multichannel approach to spread the information.
The approach ranges from the use of megaphone announcements, household and focused group meetings to the more complex use of community influencers and radio talk shows.
Andrea Suley, the UNICEF representative in South Sudan observed that parents needed to be fully aware of the importance of the vaccine and thus the communication process is critical.
“To turn this vaccination campaign into a success, we need to ensure that the parents are fully aware of the importance of the vaccination and ask for their children to get the vaccine, said Andrea. “Communication activities are critical.”
In order to strengthen the effort to combat the stubborn life threatening disease, the ministry of health has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and others to enhance surveillance.
They have placed serious emphasis on both community and health facility case search for children that may have developed sudden paralysis of limbs. In addition, they have strengthened the investigation and timely transportation of samples to the laboratory.
The WHO representative for South Sudan, Dr. Olushayo Olu, in a statement issued on Thursday said that the campaign provides an opportunity for the vulnerable children to receive critical medical interventions that can avert life-threatening disease such as disability from poliomyelitis.