November 21, 2016 (JUBA) – An estimated 300,000 children have been vaccinated against polio by South Sudan’s health ministry, the World Health Organization (WHO), said.
- A medical worker vaccinates a child against polio. (AFP)
The vaccination, officials said, was part of a four day campaign seeking to overcome conflict across the young nation.
“The commitment of health teams to reach as many children as possible in difficult circumstances is really to be commended,” said the WHO Representative to South Sudan, Abdulmumini Usman.
Although the campaign aimed at reaching 3.5 million children aged 0-59 months across the country, WHO said South Sudan’s conflict made the process more difficult.
“Delivering polio vaccines in South Sudan has never been harder, however insecurity, ongoing clashes and displacement made the logistical arrangement overwhelming,” partly reads a statement WHO issued Sunday.
“Vaccinators struggled with impossible burdens to find every child of the displaced families scattered in hard-to-reach areas, including besieged locations,” it noted.
Polio is described as a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.
Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent.
There is no cure for Polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.