Vaccination Against Polio Underway Across NW Region

Teams of vaccinators are presently on the ground across all 21 health districts of the region vaccinating children 0-59 months against poliomyelitis.

Local administrators, traditional, religious and opinion leaders have been encouraging parents and guardians to have their children vaccinated against polio. District medical officers, medical officers, heads of health units, accompanied by mobilisers and vaccinators have been on the field since 7 am this Friday to carry out the campaign. The vaccination campaign that is simultaneously holding in all 201 health districts in the Country will run up to March 3, 2024.

Reports reaching the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Coordinating Unit in Bamenda indicates that the process has been going on smoothly but for some minor challenges like access to difficult to reach sites, some children not being available in school or at home and cases of refusal that was reported in Mbengwi Health District.

According to the information from Mbengwi, the parents of some 19 children of catholic School Mbengwi told school authorities not to allow their children be vaccinated. When the District Medical Officer of Mbengwi, Dr. Ade Leonard arrived the school, he spoke with the concerned parents and the children were finally vaccinated.

Mbengwi 1
DMo Mbengwi and team arrived Catholic School Mbengwi

Cases of refusal, mostly based on religious belief remains one of the major challenges health officials face in eradicating polio myelitis. in the country.

Dr. Cornelius Teboh, Director of EPI-NW says the campaign targets to vaccinate at least 90% of children below five years, up from the below 75% coverage reported in the region for the past four years.

Poliomyelitis was certified eradicated by the WHO in 2015 but outbreak of cases worldwide and in countries of the lake Chad Basin in 2016 and subsequently, meant Cameroon was also at risk of the disease. The first case of of the diseases was reported in Cameroon in 2019 and since then over 34 cases have been reported across the country, notably in the Far North and Centre regions.

Children below five years are those targeted in this round of the campaign and catch up vaccination for children 0-23 months in the routine vaccination calendar. The children are being administered two doses of the oral polio vaccine in health facilities and by the mobile team in markets, churches, school, motor park and other public place. All the interventions are free of charged.

Vaccination remains the most effective form of prevention. The second round of the campaigns comes up from April 5-7, 2024. The campaign is also holding across all 201 health districts of the country.

By Abongwa Fozo

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