UNICEF and WHO assisting local authorities with polio vaccinations in Bentiu
JACOB RUAI/FILIP ANDERSSON
An estimated 60,000 children in Bentiu and beyond are expected to be vaccinated against polio during an ongoing immunization campaign.
The three-day exercise, which ends on Saturday and also targets children staying at the UNMISS protection of civilians site, is being organized by the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Director-General of the Bentiu Ministry of Health, Wicgak Pieny, is urging communities in the Unity area to bring their children to receive the polio shots being administered.
“Allow the kids to be vaccinated so that you will have healthy children who will go to school and work for this country”, he said.
The Head of the WHO office in Bentiu, Dr. Loro Fredrick, echoed the appeal of the local government official.
“Please avail your children. I know that you have other priorities as well, but this is very important, polio is a devastating disease, it paralyzes and it kills. Please let us take it seriously.”
Dr. Fredrick also explained why it is important for children to visit local health facilities to get routine vaccinations against a number of other diseases as well.
“Polio is only one of the eight diseases that we prevent in South Sudan. Therefore I encourage all mothers to take their children to a health facility so that they receive the other remaining seven vaccines.”
The polio immunization drive in Bentiu was meant to take place earlier this month, when a similar campaign took place in the capital Juba, but had to be postponed because of logistical and security related challenges.