8 November 2012

South Sudan: Polio-Immunisation Campaign Kicks Off in Jonglei

Photo: Stuart Price/UN Photo
Mothers sit with their malnourished and dehydrated children in a ward at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu.

Bor — South Sudan Polio Campaign, which is expected to run for three days, has started in Jonglei on Wednesday, targeting more than 60,000 children up to five years old.

The acting minister of health, Stephen Par Kuol, demonstrating to Polio trainees in Bor, Jonglei, November 4, 2012 (ST)

During the campaign launch in Bor, the acting minister of health, "Stephen Par Kuol", said vaccination means a lot to the people of South Sudan and that the people of Jonglei, under the theme, "protect the future."

"We are doing this to protect our children against polio," Par said.

According to Par, the government has made a plan to ensure that all children are vaccinated against polio during the campaign.

He explained that citizens must "adapt a new culture of healthcare."

"Every child at home must have his or her health card which must be shown to the vaccinators, even at schools," added Par.

Hundreds of South Sudanese children have been disabled or killed by polio, as well measels, mumps, diphtheria and whooping cough explained Par.

Many of these diseases have been almost eradicated in richer country as they can be easily immunised against.

In Akobo county, vaccinators did not reach some places due to high level of water from the recent flooding.

Jacob Mathiang, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) communication officer, who spoke from Akobo said his team did not make to reach some due to flooding.

"What we are doing now is to inform people from those places to come to us in places we have settled because it is really difficult to carry boxes containing drugs in water to those places," Mathiang explained.

According to Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, in July, it is a country "where children face so many risks, but thanks to the efforts of community volunteers, the government and the support we have received from donors like Japan, Canada, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we haven't had a single case of polio in nearly three years."

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