After his six year-old daughter Jemita was diagnosed with polio in December 2018, Firmino Arlindo became an advocate for the polio vaccine, going door to door to talk to families about the importance of protecting their children.
When Round 1 of the polio vaccination campaign began, he asked to work as a vaccinator. His aim: to protect his community against the suffering his daughter and their family have been through.
Jemita is one paralytic case of three unvaccinated children confirmed for poliovirus in the Sinai community, in the Malua Health Centre area, 42 kilometers from the district of Molumbo in the province of Zambézia, Mozambique.
Firmino says he feels it is his responsibility to do his part in joining the polio response. "When someone has been through a disease, people listen and believe in your words. I ask all parents whose children have had or have polio to actively support health activities to combat the disease."
"I saw the suffering in my home due to polio. My family was lucky enough to get help and I felt I should do my part to help others not to get sick."
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system nervousness and can cause paralysis.
Thanks to quick response by health authorities, Jemita's onset of paralysis was reversed and she is now back to her normal life - going to school, eating well and playing with her friends.
Polio outbreak in Mozambique
WHO and partners are responding to the outbreak in Mozambique with a vaccination campaign delivering three doses of oral polio vaccine. The detection of the virus underscores the importance of maintaining high routine vaccination coverage everywhere to minimize the risk and consequences of any poliovirus circulation. A robust outbreak response is needed to rapidly stop circulation and ensure sufficient vaccination coverage in the affected areas to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. WHO also continues to evaluate the epidemiological situation and outbreak response measures to adapt as needed.