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1.2 million Children targeted for polio vaccines

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation and its partners will on the 2nd to the 5th of next month (September), administer vaccines to 1.2 million children in Sierra Leone against polio. Children 0-59 months will be given the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) at free cost. The objective of National Immunization Days (NIDs) in Sierra Leone is to achieve and maintain a polio-free status in all districts of the country. This fourth round of NIDs will be synchronized with other West African countries. The vaccination teams will move from house to house, administering OPV to all eligible children from 0-59 months. In a press briefing on Saturday, WHO Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Team Leader, Dr Pamela Mitula, said that to ensure successful NIDs, there is need for commitment, proper planning, close monitoring and implementation and adequate coordination mechanisms at all levels.
She added that with strong government leadership and the effective collaboration between WHO, UNICEF and other key partners including bilateral and multilateral organizations, non -governmental organizations and the civil society, the campaign is expected to contribute significantly to the global Polio eradication goal.
Dr. Mitula reiterated that the UN family will continue to support the government of Sierra Leone in its effort to eradicate polio. She called on communities to report all cases of children who develop sudden paralysis to the nearest health facility for investigations to rule out polio. In his power point presentation, National Logistics Officer, Child Health EPI Program, Hassan Jalloh, explained that immunization against Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) is currently one of the most cost effective interventions in saving lives, especially amongst children under five.
He noted that Polio has been one of VPDs with a heavy burden of disease worldwide, adding that Polio has crippled hundreds of children in Sierra Leone.
Jalloh further explained that the Polio Eradication Initiative (EPI) was formulated to eradicate polio around the world.
Sierra Leone adopted the (PEI) in 1998. He added that one of the strategies of the initiative is the conduct of NIDs and since then, over 30 rounds of NIDs and sub-NIDs have been conducted in Sierra Leone.
By Abibatu Kamara

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