It’s an unseasonably cool morning in Senxay Village, near central Laos, and a good day for health teams to go door to door to vaccinate children against polio. Mothers like 25-year-old Vardy are delighted to see their babies and children vaccinated. “I’m really happy,” she says with a beaming smile while bouncing her 5-month-old baby up and down. “I know after being vaccinated my baby will stay healthy and safe.”
In remote ethnic villages like these, children are often the most at-risk of suffering from preventable diseases caused by bacteria and viruses, and it wasn’t so long ago that tragedy had struck in a nearby village.
In late 2015, an 8-year-old boy suddenly had a high fever and weak limbs. Four days later, he tragically died in hospital from vaccine-derived polio virus.