Sierra Leone maximizes protection of children against polio

Freetown, Sierra Leone (PANA) - Sierra Leone on Friday officially introduced injectable polio vaccine (or IPV) into its routine immunization programme to maximize protection against polio.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), IPV is now used in many countries around the world to prevent against the debilitating disease, and will be available free of cost alongside the oral vaccine at clinics and health facilities across Sierra Leone.

The new vaccine’s introduction is led by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support from the WHO Global Polio Eradication Initiative, UNICEF, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and the vaccine manufacturers.

“The only protection we have, the only way we can be sure of keeping our children safe from polio and the only way we can completely eradicate polio is by ensuring that every child, everywhere, gets their vaccines,” said Alexander Chimbaru, Officer in Charge of the WHO Country Office in Sierra Leone. “Alongside the oral vaccine, IPV will provide children in Sierra Leone with the best possible protection against all polio diseases.”

In 1988 when the WHO Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched, polio paralyzed approximately 10 children every 15 minutes in over 130 countries of the world. Since then, the collective global effort to end the disease has resulted to only 22 cases in just two countries in 2017, making it a historical low in the global polio eradication initiative.

The last confirmed polio case in Sierra Leone was in 2010. Since then increased surveillance activities for the disease has been ongoing with support from WHO and other partners, alongside efforts to expand vaccination coverage across all of the country’s 14 districts.

“As part of our effort as a Ministry to advance child health in Sierra Leone, there are currently eight childhood vaccines with twelve antigens in the National Immunization Programme which are helping to save the lives of our children against vaccine preventable diseases”, explained Madina Rahman, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation.

“And today, we feel very proud to introduce the IPV for the first time as another critical lifesaving intervention, which was made possible with the unwavering support of our partners”, she added.

Partners also impressed on the need for health workers to ensure effective storage of the vaccines, and for communities and partners to continue mobilizing parents and caregivers to take their children to get routine vaccinations on time, for protection against many different life-threatening and debilitating diseases.
-0- PANA AR 24Feb2018

24 février 2018 09:12:34

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