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Immunization

Going the extra mile in Laos

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Today, Pon is also getting the oral polio vaccine. Laos declared the country polio-free in 2000 but will continue to immunize every child under five against polio until the world is certified polio-free, hopefully in 2005. Pon is Wan and her husband Khamla’s third child. The first two died before they reached their first month, the first child possibly due to neo-natal tetanus. Following tradition, Khamla has severed his children’s umbilical cords with a freshly cut piece of bamboo. However, this practice is potentially a source of infection.

“After we lost our first child, the doctor in the village told us that there are about six diseases which can kill new-born babies,” says Khamla. “That’s why we’ve made sure that our new baby will be immunized.”