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Government, UN launches Polio vaccination campaign targeting 3.1 million children

The government together with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday launched countrywide Polio vaccination campaign targeting 3.1 million children under- 5 years.

Awut Deng Acuil, the national minister of general education and instruction and also the acting minister of health during the launching ceremony held in Juba, urged parents and caregivers to ensure that all children are vaccinated against Polio.

“To make this vaccination campaign a success, I would like to urge parents, caregivers, families, religious groups and communities to ensure that all children under the age of 5 years are vaccinated against polio during this campaign, “Acuil said.

The vaccination campaign follows the confirmation of three cases of Polio on December 14, 2023 in Yambio of Western Equatoria State.

Humphrey Karamagi, the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative for South Sudan, said that the campaign provides significant opportunity for the vulnerable population to avert life-threatening Poliomyelitis (polio) which is a highly infectious viral disease that commonly affects children under 5 years of age.

“The campaign provides a more significant opportunity for vulnerable populations to receive critical interventions that could avert life-threatening diseases, such as Polio a preventable disease that should not afflict any child anywhere,” Karamagi said.

Hamida Lasseko, the UNICEF Country Representative said that the nationwide vaccination campaign marks a pivotal moment in the continued efforts to combat Polio in South Sudan, adding that they can fortify defenses and curtail the spread of the Poliovirus by leveraging the vaccine designed for enhanced efficacy against Poliovirus.

“UNICEF remains committed to bolstering immunization strategies alongside our dedicated health partners and the ministry of health, ensuring equitable access to vaccination for all children and safeguarding communities against the threat of polio,” she said.

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease that commonly affects children under 5 years of age. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route.

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