Sumbawanga — THE Acting Sumbawanga District Commissioner (DC) in Rukwa Region, Mr Moshi Chang'a, said laxity among top government leaders in the region is pushing the region into performing poorly in the provision of vaccinations to children under five years of age.
Mr Chang'a who also doubles as the commissioner for the newly established Kalambo District, said it was sad that among the six regions in the country which performed poorly, Rukwa Region was leading the pack.
The DC attributed such poor record to laxity among top leaders in the region compounded by their failure to mobilize grassroots leaders to sensitize 'wananchi' in their respective areas to turn up in large number with their children to be vaccinated.
Sumbawanga Municipal Council is expected to vaccinate about 9,959 children this month. Mr Chang'a hinted that he was compelled to react in such a manner after, as guest of honour, witnessed poor attendances in which only five mothers took their children to get Rotavirus vaccine for the prevention of diarrhoea and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV 13) for prevention of pneumonia.
The DC echoed his sentiments shortly before he launched an exercise to provide two new vaccinations to all children under five years old, which was held at district level in Sumbawanga Municipality. Mr Chang'a cautioned that the region borders the neighbouring DRCongo which has a record of experiencing frequent outbreaks of polio, posing a great threat to the region if leaders went on doing their duties lackadaisically.
According to medical statistics in Rukwa Region, two years ago the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare championed a polio vaccination exercise in the region. The campaign came in the wake of an outbreak of the disease in the neighbouring DRCongo, especially in Kalemie District along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, bordering Rukwa Region.
The last polio case was reported in Tanzania in 1966. Tanzania is among the few countries that fulfilled WHO recommendations, which subsequently led to the elimination of polio. Polio, according to WHO reports, is a deadly disease caused by a virus and mostly attack children aged below five years old. The latest WHO reports show that one among 200 under- five children in Africa are reported to have been paralyzed by a polio attack.