The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in collaboration with WHO and UNICEF has announced the fourth round of the National Immunization Day (NIDS) for marklate against polio to take start from the 28th October to the 31st.
The main objectives of NIDS are to provide oral polio vaccines to all children under the age of five year (0-59) irrespective of their previous immunization status with the sole aim of eradicating polio in Sierra Leone.
In a press conference held on Friday 22ndOctober 2010 at the SLAJ office, Campbell Street in Freetown the Programme Manager, Child Health of MOHS Rev. Dr. Thomas T. Samba said polio was a very heinous disease. According to him the disease may lead to death or permanent deformity and disability. He disclosed that the disease is caused by the wild polio virus and the virus spreads from person to person and mostly through the stool of those who have the germs. He said it was necessary for residents to clean their environment, wash hands and food at all times. He said the disease can be prevented by vaccination with polio vaccine, personal hygiene and good environmental sanitation.
In his statement the WHO Expanded Programme on Immunization team leader Dr. Fussum Daniel said the disease has been a threat to the whole world for many years. According to him, countries all over the world launched a battle against poliomyelitis since 1988, and since then there has been a reduction of patients of polio disease in some countries. He deplored the recent discovery of the disease in Sierra Leone after a decade, in July 2009 in the Kambia District, adding sadly that the virus has subsequently spread to four other districts- Port Loko, Moyamba, Bo and Kenema, as well as in the Western Area paralyzing 11 more children. ‘This number is very large for a small country like Sierra Leone,’ he noted.
To reduce the virus a house to house immunization is going to be conducted for children under five years. A team of volunteers and health workers will be visiting residential homes, markets places and schools, including parks and other places to give an oral vaccine to children.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.