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Community mobilizer is passionate about keeping Somaliland polio-free

UNICEF Somalia/2017/Farukh
© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Farukh
Community mobilizer for the polio vaccination campaigns in Somaliland, Muhammad Hussain Yousaf, uses a megaphone to inform the local people.

Boroma, Awdal, Somaliland, 10 August 2017 - Muhammad Hussain Yousaf is a community mobilizer working in Qulujeed area of Somaliland where he supports the anti-polio campaign in this remote, hard to reach area. Muhammad, aged 66, is also an elder of the community which assists his work in informing parents and caregivers about the polio vaccination campaigns and the risks to their children if they are not vaccinated.

There have been three polio vaccination campaigns in Somaliland this year with the last one in July, which focused on hard to reach and remote areas, involving 300 community mobilizers such as Muhammed. Their work, informing communities about the vaccination campaigns by megaphone, is supported by messages on local media. Their work has been crucial in keeping Somaliland polio free for the past ten years.

Muhammad was interviewed by Yasir Farukh from UNICEF’s Communication for Development section in Somaliland.

"Being a local elder I know every mother and father of his area by name which makes it very easy to track the children and families missed from Polio vaccinations. The community know my voice and bring their children whenever I announce by megaphone I am with the polio team. 

UNICEF Somalia/2017/Farukh
© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Farukh
Local people in the hard to reach Qulujeed area of Somaliland with Muhammad Hassan Yousaf a community mobilizer responsible for informing them about the polio vaccination campaigns.

"I recommend parents to refer any other child who is unvaccinated in their neighborhood to the nearby centres and always look for finger mark on a child below five to see they are vaccinated.

"I emphasize that parents should ensure timely vaccination as this is the only way their child can be fully protected against all preventable diseases. It is also the responsibility of all parents to vaccinate their children every time it is offered.

"It is my passion to work for the children in my community as I consider all of them as my grandchildren being the elder of the community and will continue to work for them irrespective of the hard terrain of the area.”

The Somaliland Ministry of Health is leading the Polio programme with the support of UNICEF (vaccines, cold chain and social mobilization) and WHO (Operational support and surveillance). 

 

 
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