In partnership with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and WHO, thousands of nurses have begun a weeklong Measles, Polio and Deworming vaccination drive from May 8 to14 to safeguard 683,000 children from these contagious but inexpensively preventable diseases.
The vaccination campaign was launched at the Duport Road Health Center in Paynesville during a ceremony attended by invited guest such as Cyvette Gibson, Mayor of the city of Paynesville, the Rotary family, NGO representatives, House Committee on Health, the UN family, US Ambassador Deborah Malac and others.
The Vice President of Liberia, Joseph Boakai, officially opened the campaign by administering the first polio dose to a randomly selected child while the first measles injection was administered by chief medical officer and Minister of Health designate, Dr. Bernice Dahn.
Parents were excited to see government officials and their partners and medical officials at the campaign, reassuring them of the significance of having their children immunized and also the dangers of the diseases.
“With the successful end of Ebola in Liberia, for the first time since its outbreak, health workers are panning out across the country to protect thousands of children from the fatal measles disease. From statistics given by VP Bokai, there are 562 suspected measles cases and seven of them have already passed away.
According to WHO, measles is highly contagious and one of the leading causes of death in children across the world. Also, polio is listed as being a highly infectious viral disease that can lead to paralysis and even death. Both diseases can be easily prevented by vaccines which are inexpensive and easy to use.
Meanwhile, mothers have picked a day from their busy schedules to line up their children for a harmless vaccine that will save their lives.
‘My children lost their father during the Ebola time and we saw how he suffered before he died. I wouldn’t want that to happen to my children because of measles, so I will do everything to protect my baby who I brought here today for his vaccination,” stated Ma Bendu.
Also, Alberta Constant, the supervisor of the Duport Road Health Center, says so far the campaign is going well with thousands of children under 59 months being vaccinated.
“We encouraged community members to take their babies to various sites to have them vaccinated. Measles, worms and polio are not good and we’ve encouraged all the parents to take their child to the vaccination sites. There were some challenges at first, but we put in some mechanisms to reassure residents that this is not an Ebola vaccine and the parents came to understand and accept it,” she added.
The campaign is to vaccinate 683,000 children against polio and 603,000 against measles while at the same time deworming them.