Sierra Leone: First Lady launches African Vaccination Week
Sierra Leone’s First Lady, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, says immunization is one of the success stories in her country’s health delivery system.Speaking during the launch of the first session of the African vaccination week on Monday in the capital, Freetown, Mr Koroma noted that the “purpose of immunization is to reduce the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases.”
The week-long exercise will last until 29 May with the administration of oral polio vaccine and vitamin A supplements for children and tetanus vaccine for women of child bearing age.
The African vaccination week is in response to a resolution adopted by Ministers of Health at the 60th session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Africa in 2010.
It was to institutionalize an annual Africa vaccination week for sustaining advocacy, expanding community participation and improving immunization service delivery.
Sierra Leone has a polio eradication program and surveillance system for acute flaccid paralysis, which has helped the country to fight the childhood crippling disease.
“Since 1999 when the last two cases were investigated in Sierra Leone, the country remains polio free and was provisionally certified as polio free in 2007,” Mrs Koroma stressed.
A representative of Helen Keller, Mary Hughes, said the launch of the African Vaccination Week is one more strategic initiative that will enable Sierra Leone bring health services to the doorstep of children and families within the various communities.
But she pointed out that in Sierra Leone successfully carrying out such exercise is very challenging. “Targeting children under the age of five is a big challenge, especially in mountainous areas,” Ms Hughes said expressing her concern.
A children’s group in the country, Rapture Kids, has been tasked with the responsibility of sending the message across calling on parents to make available their children during the week-long exercise in their song ‘Take you pikin for marklate’.Tweet