Polio paralyses Somali children

Somalia children raising their country's flag

from SAAD MUSE in Mogadishu, Somalia
MOGADISHU, (CAJ News) AN outbreak of poliovirus has left at least 19 children paralysed in Somalia.

The south and central parts of the East African country are affected.

The outbreak has been raging since late 2017.

A special house-to-house immunisation campaign against the virus began this past weekend.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are urging parents and caregivers to ensure all children aged under five are vaccinated.

Both agencies are advising health workers and caregivers to observe health and safety measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) during the campaign that ends on Wednesday.

“The only way to stop such outbreaks from vaccine-preventable diseases, including polio, is to vaccinate every child every time immunization services are offered,” said Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative for Somalia.

During the ongoing campaign, 6 266 vaccinators in urban areas and 2 685 vaccinators in rural areas will be going from door to door to vaccinate 1,65 million children.

In efforts to reach every child possible, an additional 1 125 team supervisors will be visiting households in targeted areas.

Werner Schultink, UNICEF representative for Somalia, said it was critical that all routine immunizations continued, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These vaccination drives will help prevent further outbreaks and will protect children from deadly diseases so they can survive and thrive,” Schultink said.

– CAJ News

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