Monday, March 28, 2011

Nationwide polio campaign kicks offs

Health officials urge parents to make available children for vaccination 
The 2011 national immunisation campaign against polio has been launched by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare at the Kanifing Municipality Council (KMC) on March 25.
The campaign, ending on March 28, 2011 targets children from five years of age and below. A second round is already slated from April 22-25, 2011.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare Fatim Badjie said the National Immunisation Days (NIDs) is one of the strategies of polio eradication initiative (PEI), which is an international initiative declared by the World Health Assembly in May 1988.

She said after four years of the declaration, The Gambia lunched its own national PEI, the goal for which is the global eradication of Poliomyelitis with vaccination at base outreach clinics, active search for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and National Immunization Days.
The Gambia has made tremendous progress under the PEI. Last year, there were five rounds of NIDs, all of which have registered coverage of more than 90 percent, she said.
She added that the PEI programme is also aimed at reducing childhood morbidity and mortality from vaccine preventable diseases.
She said the Gambia’s PEI is battling ten disease conditions. These include tuberculosis, whooping cough, tetanus, measles, yellow fever, haemophilus influenza among other diseases.
Dr. Thomas Sukwa, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in The Gambia said the country joins 15 others in West and Central Africa in this initiative. This synchronized exercise is aimed at consolidating the gains so far made and further prevent importation of polio in areas declared polio free.
“The Gambia was certified polio free in 2004 and since then no confirmed case of polio has been recorded,” he said.
“With fresh out breaks being reported in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the continent, it is prudent for us as a nation to intensify our efforts in eradicating the disease,” the Deputy Mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) Yusupha Sanyang said.

Health officials urge parents to make available children for vaccination
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and its development partners on Wednesday 23rd March, 2011 held a press conference on the Polio Campaign and called on parents to ensure that children under five years are vaccinated against the disease.
During the press conference held at National Malaria Control Programme (NMATC) in Kanifing, health officials said the forthcoming nationwide immunization campaign is slated for lunch on Friday 25th March at the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC). The first round of the campaign is set to end on 28th March, 2011, and a second round will be held from April 22-25, 2011.
Speaking to reporters, Rohey Njie-Saidy, a Health Promotion Officer at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, said the campaign targets more than 391, 000 children across the country.
According to her, the campaign will take a form of house to house approach in order to ensure that all children are vaccinated and it does not matter whether they had completed their routine vaccination schedule in their various health centres.
The UN agency working for the welfare of children, UNICEF said it has facilitated a nationwide sensitisation campaign on immunization against polio. The United Nations Children Fund Representative Mr. Ousman Manneh told reporters that the sensitisation campaign was held at regional, district and community levels. This, he said was a preparatory approach for the polio vaccination campaign.
Another Health Promotion Officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mr. Momodou Gassama, said the campaign is jointly organised by the Government of The Gambia, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, WHO and UNICEF.
He explained that the signs and symptoms of polio are mainly fever and can quickly result into the weakness of limbs paralyzing the affected child and subsequent death.  
The disease, he said is communicable, caused by germs and children can become victims of the disease if they consume contaminated water or food.
He stressed that every child have right to good health, while reiterating that the partnership between the Government and development partners is critical in the fight against the disease. Source - The Voice

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