3-day door to door vaccination to save children from polio gets a flying start
Yemen’s 3-day door to door National Immunization Days campaign for polio eradication was given a flying start here today by the Vice President, Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi by administering the polio drops to children in the capital city of Sana’a. The impressive ceremony organized at his residence captured the spirit of door to door initiative and illustrated Governments strong political will to send mobile teams to every home in the country.A mobile team equipped with cold boxes and enthusiastic to embark on gigantic 3 day campaign was greeted by the Minister of Public Health and Population, Governor of Sana’a, Officer–In-charge of UNICEF, WHO Representative and senior officials of the Health Ministry. After administering the polio drops to children, the Vice President told the media representatives that the Government attaches a high priority to keep Yemen free from polio. He urged the parents to participate actively in this national effort and give their children polio drops and save them from this incurable and disabling disease.UNICEF Acting Representative, Anne-Marie Fonseka said this campaign is important in sustaining Yemen’s successful effort for controlling the polio outbreak that seriously threatened the country in 2005. For this mass vaccination effort, UNICEF has procured 5 million doses of oral polio vaccine, at a cost of 635,500 $ US Dollars. The country wide mass vaccination is being led by Ministry of Public Health and Population with the support of UNICEF, Centre of Disease Control (CDC), WHO and USAID.
During the mass vaccination drive, supported by a communication and social mobilization component, more than 4 million children, under five years will be given polio drops by mobile teams who will go from house to house to reach all children. Door to door drive helps to ensure that children, under five years often end up missing vaccination due to distance and poor level of awareness on the part of parents are also provided coverage. As many as 18084 mobile teams and 2062 teams at the fixed centers will be busy for the three consecutive days to reach more than 4 million children. A distinguishing feature of the 11th Round is that a four-level supervisory system comprising 4,200 Supervisors has been put in place to monitor the work of vaccinators and health workers at the level of the community, district, Governorate and Center to facilitate the work of the teams on daily basis. The mobile teams of vaccinators assisted by volunteers from the community will administer polio drops and engage in dialogue with families to allay their fears about immunization and to help reduce the number of refusals. The door-to-door vaccination was necessitated by outbreak of polio in 2005 after re-emergence of polio in Yemen. The outbreak reached its peak in July 2005 when a total of number of children were infected by the polio virus reached 479 cases. Hodeida and Ibb were among the worst affected Governorates.
The Ministry of Public Health and Population has also made special arrangements for targeting the places such as hotels, hospitals, buss stations to make sure that the children who are away from at the time of the home visits are not missed. As part of the efforts to accelerate vaccination of children against polio, the Ministry of Public Health and Population has put together a communication and social mobilization component that includes a mix of interventions such as inter-personal communication and motivational messages through posters, banners, leaflets, jingles and flashes. Motivation material has been distributed by Districts’ Health offices, to get the message across to larger audience.