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Nationwide Polio Campaign ends

Mar 30, 2011, 12:18 PM | Article By: Momodou Faal

The first round of the Nationwide National Immunization Campaign, which commenced last Friday across the country ended on Monday.

This paper during the campaign conducted an interview with independent monitors and field workers in the different regions of the country to sound their opinions about the whole exercise.

Speaking in an interview with The Point at Farafenni, Alh Saihou Janneh, the independent monitor for North Bank East, said he was contracted by the WHO to look at the work of the teams on the ground, who were going house to house, adding that during the cause of the exercise every evening they used to have a meeting to critically look at the data before sending them to the WHO. He predicted a high coverage for North Bank East.

For his part, the independent monitor for Central River Region, Janko Jimara, said that this year’s campaign in his region had been very successful, adding that the teams had been working extremely well and at the end of the day they would expect to have 90% coverage for the region.

He pointed out that last year five national immunization campaigns were successfully conducted, noting that the people were well sensitised about the said campaign, “that is why the vaccinators did not encounter any problem”.

Sulayman Jallow, a team supervisor in Foni Kansala district in West Coast Region, stated that he monitored 42 villages and did not encounter any major problems.

Jankoba Jabbie, regional health director for Lower River Region, said there had been vigorous and massive sensitization with the chief and alkalos within the chieftaincy districts in the region on the importance of having their children vaccinated during the national immunization vaccination days.

Ms Majula Kuyateh, the public health officer at the region of Upper River Region, who also doubles as the supervisor of Fulladu and Tumana district, said that during the campaign there were some difficulties encountered in terms of resistance but were able to resolve the situation.

Mr Labbo Bah, of Health Education Unit under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, who is also a focal person for communicable disease describe the overall campaign as success.

He added that reports from the monitors across the regions stated that there was successful coverage from the beginning to the end.

“This was due to the fact that the population was well sensitised before the campaign on the need and importance of vaccinating children under five years,” he said. “We have a vibrant Expanded Program on Immunisation Unit that ensures the availability and distribution of vaccines country wide”, he added. He then commended and thanked the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International for providing “the strategic support” in the implementation of the National Immunization Days campaign.

Dr Mamadi Cham, director of Health Services, underscored the significance of the campaign, saying that it was aimed at preventing and protecting children from being contracted with polio disease.

The Gambia has the highest best immunization and effective coverage in the region, Dr Cham says.