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Somalia, November 2015: School children spread the word about life saving vaccinations

© Solnardo Sahardid/2015
Children at Arabsyo Gabilay primary school, Somaliland learn about the importance of vaccinations and become advocates for immunization.

HARGEISA, Somaliland, November 2015 – One afternoon earlier this year the after school club at Arabsyo Gabilay primary school, Somaliland received three visitors keen to spread information about the importance of immunization. The three visitors, a local religious leader and two people working on the UNICEF supported Behaviour Change Communication program in schools in Gabilay district of Somaliland.

The students were intrigued. Eleven year old Mushtaq Nasir Abdillahi asked her friend Amina Yusuf in a low whisper whether they were going to be given an injection. However, the Sheikh and the teacher, who were both trained by SOLNARDO, a local NGO in Somaliland supported by UNICEF, instead explained what immunization. They gave out educational immunization materials and began a discussion.

Afterwards Mushtaq understood the importance of vaccination and could not wait to spread the message in her school and at home. That evening, after dinner, Mushtaq told her family about the meeting and showed them the immunization reading materials. Her brother and sister enjoyed looking at the pictures.

“I am so pleased you know the importance of vaccination, and I’m happy you all had your vaccinations,” said her mother. “I know at least four parents in our neighbourhood who did not vaccinate their children and two of them got measles last month.”

Later the school organized a competition about immunization in which officials from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and UNICEF came. Mushtaq’s mother watched the competition which helped educate parents on vaccinating their children. Mushtaq and her mother decided to become advocates for vaccination in their neighbourhood.

The sensitization programme was carried out in ten schools in three districts for six months. During that time 400 students were reached and in turn they informed nearly 3000 students.



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