Friday, October 15, 2010

The Polio Campaign


Gambia Aiming for a Polio Free Country
Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) An immunization campaign to eradicate polio in West and Central Africa started last week the campaign is take place in 19 countries within the two African regions.
In The Gambia, the campaign started on Saturday 6th March 2010. The Minister of Health and Social Welfare Dr. Abubakarr Gaye reiterated his government’s commitment to the welfare of children from zero to five years old to be immunized with the polio vaccine in order to ensure polio free country.
The 2010 Polio Campaign in The Gambia aims to cover 338, 148 children age 0-5 years with two doses of the oral polio vaccine. The first round for the synchronized immunization date is from 6-9 March, while the second round will be from 24-27 April, in the form of a house to house visit countrywide.
Mr. Gaye said that the National Immunization Day is one of the key strategies of the Polio Eradication Campaign, which is an international initiative declared and adopted at the World Health Assembly meeting in May 1998.
Mr. Gaye, who was speaking Launching of the National Immunization Day and Campaigned 2010 at the Jammeh Foundation for Peace Hospital in Bundung, noted that The Gambia launched its own national polio eradication initiative under the preview of the expanded programme on immunization (EPI).
He mentioned that the overall objective was to reduce childhood morbidity and mortality resulting from vaccine-preventable diseases. Several national immunization campaigns were conducted in the country over the past year and this has registered a positive achievement as over 95 percent of the target population of the children age 0 - 5 years were vaccinated against polio.
“The country’s Eradication Polio Immunization EPI is presently addressing ten disease conditions which include tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, pertusis (or whooping cough), tetanus, yellow fever, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenza, pneumococcal diseases and poliomyelitis,” he disclosed.
According to him, The Gambia has consistently maintained its high immunization coverage rate over the years and this has contributed significantly in the reduction of infant and childhood morbidity and mortality.
He said: “if polio is eradicated, a lot of hard-earned family money that should have gone into treating and caring for a child suffering from the disease will be saved and utilized for other family needs.”
However, he stressed that despite Gambia was rated a polio free-country in 2004 in a meeting held in Tanzania, the country is still vulnerable to invasion by polio virus as it is within a region where there is still circulation of the polio virus.
He also calls on parents and care-givers to ensure that all children within the specified age group (0-5 years) are vaccinated during the national immunization campaign in order to protect them from the disease. Vol:2 Issn:125

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