thereby preventing childhood diseases. Also, during the campaign under-five children will be dewormed with Albendazole and defaulter tracing will be done, where under-five children, who missed any or all of the different routine immunization vaccines/antigens will be traced and vaccinated.
Expanded Programme on Immunization/Child Health (EPI/CH) Manager, Dr. Dennis Marke, while updating the press at Youyi building on the preparation so far made on the Polio campaign stated that over one million doses of vaccines were presently in-country and that they had effected distribution of these vaccines to the respective districts. Dr. Marke reiterated that, they had engaged and trained 7,000 vaccinators country-wide so as to ensure that every household and child is reached to have an effective vaccination process.
He further noted that with the support of WHO, they had also trained independent monitors who would independently monitor and support the campaign in all the districts to ensure that it becomes a success; thereby reaching over 95% of under-five children, which is the set target/benchmark.
Dr. Marke urged news men to further assist in the area of awareness raising, just as they had done in previous campaigns and appreciated their efforts in publicizing the recently launched, introduction of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine into the routine marklate system, which he noted could not have been possible without their support.
He continued that journalists are now better placed to promote the benefits of the available polio vaccines, as vaccination backed with environmental sanitation is key in the polio eradication fight.
“Poliomyelitis is a permanent condition, no medicine can cure it, the only option is vaccination,” Said Dr. Marke.
WHO Expanded Programme on Immunization Team Lead, Dr. William BagumaMbabazi, while giving the global overview of polio stated that Africa as a continent is doing well in the polio eradication fight, pointing that the continent has not recorded a single polio since 2016. He, however, referenced that countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan have recorded 7 and 1 cases respectively, which is why polio campaigns like the upcoming one are done in Africa and other countries where the polio virus is in high risk.
Mr. Mbabazi, while dilating on funding confirmed that funds for polio are being mobilized globally by the International Polio Eradication Initiative and for Sierra Leone the Belinda and Gate Foundation partly funds the polio campaign, with UNICEF covering Social Mobilization.
Programme Manager, Health Education Division, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Lansana Alex Conteh, while dilating on Social Activities told journalists that they had developed jingles in 10 local languages that are currently on air in the respective radio stations across the country.
Mr. Conteh added that they had developed 1,300 cloth banners prepositioned at strategic locations across the country and printed 4,000 Awareness Cards for awareness raising at community level.
He reiterated that community engagements and chiefdom advocacy meetings were ongoing in each word and chiefdom in the country to ensure community participation, security, ownership, sustainability and commitment.
Mr. Conteh finally noted that radio and TV interactive programmes were ongoing across the country and announced Lakka Peripheral Health Unit in Western Area Urban as the venue for the launch of the first National Polio Campaign in 2018.