October 18, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan has stepped up efforts in response to last month’s outbreak of the deadly Polio epidemic in the country, the health ministry said.
- A woman, paralysed by polio, crawls to a water point in the Li-Rangu area, near the town of Yambio, capital of Western Equatoria State in South Sudan, on 20 October 2012 (Photo World Enabled).
Two children in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and one in Eastern Equatoria states were confirmed with the infection, prompting a national health emergency declaration in the country.
The health ministry, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, said it initiated an immediate “mop-up” campaign in the affected areas of its Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Eastern Equatoria states.
The campaigns, it stressed, will be conducted four times.
“This includes one sub-national immunization days, which will start on 22nd – 29th October 2013, and three national immunization days, two in November, 5-11 and 19-25 and the last one this year will be in December”, partly reads the ministry’s statement.
The campaign days have been increased from four to seven days for November and December campaigns, but the October ones will still remain for four days, it added.
Sub-national immunizations days, the ministry said, will also extend to other regions of the country as part of efforts to prevent further outbreak of the deadly disease.
Polio, according to health officials, is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to paralysis, breathing problems, or even death. The disease, in its most debilitating forms, displays symptoms such as paralysis and death
In June 2009, however, health officials declared South Sudan Polio free.
Meanwhile the health ministry said it was working very closely with World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and other key partners to ensure the most effective response to the disease outbreak.