Saturday, April 20, 2024

Government launches first round of polio vaccination


The government today through the Ministry of Health launched the first round of the Polio vaccination campaign in Lusaka’s Chawama Township aimed at boosting the country’s immunity following the recently recorded polio case in neighbouring Malawi.

Speaking at the launch, Lusaka Province Minister Sheal Mulyata said government is committed to ensuring that resources are available to immunize all children under the age of five against polio and that door to door vaccination exercises will be conducted, in addition to the usual services provided at health centres.

Ms. Mulyata disclosed that the first round of the campaign is being conducted in Lusaka, Eastern and Muchinga provinces, targeting One Million and Two hundred Children and will later be extended to the rest of the country targeting over three million and five hundred children.

“The first round of this campaign will be conducted in three provinces namely; Eastern province, Lusaka province and Muchinga province. And we are targeting approximately 1.2 million children. The rest of the rounds which will be conducted at least four weeks apart will cover the whole country and target over 3.5 children,” she said.

Meanwhile, United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) disclosed that 5.9 million polio vaccines have been procured and delivered to the Ministry of Health by UNICEF to cover the first two rounds of the vaccine and that health care workers in 30 districts have been trained to help with the first two rounds of vaccines for children in Zambia to supplement government’s efforts in the fight against Polio.

Ms. Gandhi said UNICEF is saddened by the news of the reported polio case in Malawi, which paralyzed a three year old girl and that the organization is working closely with the governments of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to prevent the spread of polio and increase immunity against Polio.

“At the same time parallel campaigns are taking place in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. In readiness, UNICEF has procured more than 5.9 million doses of the polio vaccine for Zambia to cover the first and second rounds. The training of health workers in the 30 priority districts has been completed,” she said

And a Resident of Chawama, Gregory Mutale, who brought his child for the polio vaccination appreciated the campaign and called on fellow parents to ensure that they take their children for the polio vaccine to protect them.

Vvarious partner organizations including the World Health Organization, the Melinda and Bill Gates foundation, the Rotary club, Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia and others today joined in the launch of the Polio campaign in Lusaka’s Chawama Township.

Meanwhile, -A total of 29,579 under five children will be vaccinated against polio in Nyimba district during a four-day immunisation exercise that will start this week.

The polio immunisation campaign follows a confirmed case of polio in neighbouring Malawi, which has put Zambia at a high risk of importing the virus especially though the Eastern Province.

Nyimba District Commissioner, Paul Daka, said the district will be holding a three rounds polio campaign, with the first starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 24th 2022.

Mr. Daka said vaccinating all under five children in the district is one of the measures which the government has put up to ensure that the disease does not spread to Zambia.

He also disclosed that border surveillance for polio has been intensified.

Mr. Daka encouraged district stakeholders during an advocacy meeting on polio to work as a team and give the disease no chance to spread.

And Nyimba District Health Director, Martin Mbewe, said the team will be going door to door to vaccinate under five children.

Dr. Mbewe said Nyimba is a vast district but all children will be reached via door to door vaccination.

He said door-to-door vaccination exercise is the most effective way to target children and leave no one behind.

Dr. Mbewe said all under five children need to be vaccinated even if they have received all their scheduled vaccines.

“Let’s encourage our communities and help children get vaccinated as vaccination is the only protection against polio disease,” he said.

Dr. Mbewe said poliomyelitis is a dangerous disease that causes paralysis and sometimes death.

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