Juba – South Sudan and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday began immunisation targeting over three million children against Polio amid multiple health challenges and famine.
Dr Abdulmumini Usman, WHO Representative to South Sudan said this in a statement in Juba.
“The campaign is part of efforts to ensure that the country remains polio-free and immunisation stays in the forefront of primary health care activities.
“Conflict can have devastating, multi-generational impacts, but by leveraging our partnerships in South Sudan, we are able to continue investing in children’s health, which is a vital investment in the country’s future,’’ Usman said.
WHO said over 18,000 trained vaccinators would carry out the countrywide campaign using both house-to-house and facility-based services to reach all eligible children nationwide.
“The implementation of vaccination campaigns is a strong opportunity to reach children everywhere in the country with cost-effective, high-impact life-saving interventions.
“It will also strengthen the systems that deliver these services to the children of South Sudan,’’ Usman said.
South Sudan has remained polio-free for the last seven years, but recent cases in Nigeria and disruption in routine health services, coupled with low coverage of routine immunisation, placed the country at risk for the virus.
However, insecurity, accessibility and logistical challenges have continued in many areas, including Panyinjar, Leer and Mayendit Counties, where famine was recently declared.
“For the campaign to be effective in these areas, it will be implemented over 10 days to allow for overcoming security and access challenges.
“To further improve vaccination coverage, special strategies, such as evening vaccination and working with security and rapid response teams with access to insecure, remote areas, will be used,’’ the WHO said.