Good turnout for polio immunisation

23 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Good turnout for polio immunisation At its launch, the second round of polio vaccination with special emphasis on communities dominated by objectors and high vaccine hesitancy

The ManicaPost

 

Tendai Gukutikwa
Post Reporter

THOUSANDS of Manicaland parents with children aged 10 and below heeded the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s call to have their children immunised against polio.

The country had previously reported a case of indigenous wild polio virus (WPV) in 1986 and had been certified polio-free in 2005.

In a recent interview, Manicaland provincial health promotion officer, Mrs Agnes Mugumbate said the vaccination blitz is as a result of the disease’s detection in the environmental surveillance in the country.

She said to increase protection levels against poliovirus in children under the age of 10 in the country, the Ministry of Health and Child Care embarked on a vaccination blitz this week, with a second phase of the mass vaccination campaign scheduled for next month.

“The campaign is being implemented in two phases, with the first phase ending today (Friday) and targeting children aged from zero to ten years.

The children are receiving the first oral poliovirus vaccine dose of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2) during the first phase, with the second dose scheduled to be administered during the second phase in March.

“We are targeting all children from birth to ten years. Every child under the age of 15 is at risk of contracting this virus, but the under 10s are the ones who are most at risk, thereby making them the targeted population for this vaccination blitz.

“We are happy with the response as thousands turned up for the blitz across the province. I do not have official figures at hand, but the turnout is impressive,” she said.

Mrs Mugumbate said the campaign is being done at all heath facilities, with teams assigned to conduct door-to-door campaigns in communities.

“No child is being left behind as we have mobile clinics deployed to the remotest parts of the province. The campaign is being done at all health facilities and some fixed points within the province. We also have mobile teams that are travelling from point to point where children are, like in schools, market places, bus stops, churches, kindergartens and all areas where children can be found. There is also house to house visitations by health workers because we do not want to miss any children in this blitz,” she said.

Mrs Mugumbate encouraged parents with children below the age of 10 to take advantage of the immunisation programme and the second phase that follows in March to have their children immunised so that they are protected against the disease.

“The protection against the poliovirus is through vaccination, but the secondary prevention is environmental and hand hygiene where we encourage people to wash their hands with clean water and soap before eating and preparing food as well as after changing their babies’ diapers. We are also raising awareness and telling people that they need to make sure that they have safe drinking water,” she said.

Mrs Mugumbate said if people are not sure about the safety of their drinking water, they should chlorinate or boil it before drinking.

Mrs Mugumbate also urged parents to keep an eye on the virus’ symptoms.

“This disease is dangerous and we are appealing to those who do not believe in seeking medical assistance to reconsider their decision as they risk losing their children to the deadly disease. If one child contracts polio, he or she will be contagious and might spread it to up to 200 other children,” said Mrs Mugumbate.

She said the disease’s symptoms include sudden paralysis which will result in inability to walk or crawl.

Other polio symptoms are similar to those of Covid-19 as a patient gets a fever, sore throat, headache, fatigue, back pain and stiffness, neck pain or stiffness and pain in the arms and legs, as well as vomiting,.

The disease also affects the spinal cord, with one in 200 infections leading to muscle weakness and paralysis.

Polio is highly infectious and largely affects children younger than five years.

 

There is no cure for polio, but it is prevented through immunisation.

 

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