BY BLAIR MHONE
Government through the Ministry of Health has on Sunday launched the Polio Vaccination Campaign with over 2.9 million under-five children set to receive four rounds of the vaccine, regardless of prior vaccination status, to achieve full protection from polio.
Minister responsible, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, presided over the launch which took place at Chileka Community Day Secondary School in Lilongwe.
In her remarks, the minister called on parents and guardians to consider this jab as a must in order to protect the children saying polio spreads fast and can kill or cause permanent paralysis.
“It is the duty of every parent or guardian to make sure their children have been vaccinated to protect them from polio. We want the child that has been found with polio to be last in Malawi,” said the minister.
Last month, Malawi registered first polio case since 1992.
Meanwhile UNICEF is working closely with the Government and other partners and each child will receive four doses of the vaccine, getting one dose every month up to June.
On his part, UNICEF Representative in Malawi Rudolf Schwenk said UNICEF is fully committed to working together with the government and GPEI partners to ensure the effective implementation of the polio response plan.
“UNICEF has already procured and distributed 6.9 million doses of polio vaccines to all 28 districts and 865 health facilities for the nationwide polio campaigns,” he said.
He added that they have supported the installation of 220 new vaccine refrigerators, repaired 135, and the distribution of 3,000 vaccine carriers and 150 cold boxes to all districts in Malawi.
Government, UNICEF, World Health Organization, and other partners say similar campaigns will soon start in the neighboring Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.
According to WHO, the Polio virus enters the body when a person consumes food or drinks water contaminated with stool from a person infected with the virus.