February 21, 2011 - Southern Sudan Launches First Round of Mass Vaccinations to Eradicate Polio
Juba, Southern Sudan, Four days of the first round of the 2011 Polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) in Southern Sudan begins on Tuesday, February 22 to reach estimated 3.1 million children under the age of five. Three more rounds will be conducted in the course of the year.
“These campaigns will continue until Southern Sudan is declared polio-free and all children are safe from polio. The polio vaccine is safe and even sick children can be vaccinated”, said Dr. Luka Monoja, Minister of Health in the Government of South Sudan
“Polio is a dangerous disease that cripples children and can kill. Until polio is completely eradicated, all children in Southern Sudan are at risk of life-long polio paralysis or death. I urge all communities and their leaders to ensure that all children under the age of five are immunized”, said Dr. Yasmin Haque, Director for UNICEF Southern Sudan Area Programme.
Last year four successive rounds of the polio immunization were carried out with the last round conducted in December.
“We will continue to vaccinate all children under five as many times as possible to protect them from the polio virus”, said Dr. Abdi Aden Mohamed, Head of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Southern Sudan.
Polio can permanently paralyze and even cause death within hours. There is no cure for Polio; it can only be prevented by the vaccine. Polio vaccine, given multiple times, can protect a child for life
Across Southern Sudan, parents and guardians of children less than 5 years of age need to ensure that their children receive the vaccine.
From February 22, thousands of vaccination teams will spread across Southern Sudan, a region the size of Eastern Europe and administer two drops of the Polio vaccine to all children under five years of age.
Swangin Bismarck, UNICEF Southern Sudan Area programme, Juba
Dr. Margret Itto, Ministry of Health-Government of South Sudan: +24990021952, +249903836022