The Programme Manager for Maternal Child Health in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr.Thomas T. Samba has revealed that Sierra Leone is free from polio disease. He also intimated press men that round two of this year’s Polio immunization campaign will take place on the 26th to 29 June, 2009.One million children in the country will be targeted during this second round of polio vaccination.
Dr. Samba made this disclosure at a press orientation meeting on Maternal and Polio Campaign Round 2 held at the Conference hall of the Grass root Gender Empowerment Movement, John Street, Freetown.
The chairman of the meeting, Nathaniel Ganda, said polio is a disease that is common among children in many African countries. He stressed the need for a collaborative effort in the prevention of polio in the country. Giving an over view of the forth coming Polio immunization campaign, Dr. Samba explained that two strategies will be used to reach children in various communities during the vaccination.
The first strategy is a house to house visit to reach every child that is between one day old and 59 months old. The second strategy is a synchronization process that will see the exercise being carried out simultaneously in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Agustin Kabano, Manager, Child and Maternal Health, UNICEF said the UN system in Sierra Leone has been working closely with the Government to help reduce maternal mortality in the country. He said the polio vaccine is very effective and it is given to the children free of charge. Mr. Kabano stated that the immunization campaign in Sierra Leone is in line with other similar campaigns that are currently ongoing in six West African countries.
He called for the cooperation of religious leaders, traditional leaders and community leaders in this second round of polio immunization campaign. He also urged the media to continue with the good work in sensitizing the public on health issues particularly for parents to make their children that are within the age bracket available for vaccination.