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Malawi winds up 4th polio campaign

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Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda

The fourth round of polio vaccine administration targeting about three million under-five children across the country ended Sunday, with two more rounds remaining.

The fourth round started on October 13 and ended Sunday, with healthcare workers moving door by door to reach out to every child to protect them from the disease that leads to paralysis with no cure.

The Daily Times witnessed healthcare workers at work during vaccination exercises in Mchinji and Ntchisi District on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

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Even in the deepest rural areas, parents were able to understand what the oral vaccine was all about since health surveillance assistants spread the needed information prior to the exercise.

One of the parents, Monica Joseph of Kamganga Village, said she understood that the vaccine was meant to protect her two grandchildren from paralysis.

“We have also been told to maintain hygiene standards and we thank healthcare service providers for finding us home. We have not used transport money to visit health facilities,” she said.

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Mchinji Health Promotion Officer Joseph Mwale said the district had a target of 105,700 children and remained hopeful that the target would be met.

“There was a minor challenge that we faced, such that some households and early childhood development centres did not welcome healthcare workers.

“Some [parents and guardians] claimed that they did not receive formal communication while others thought we were administering Covid vaccines but the issue was sorted out,” Mwale said.

Ntchisi Environmental Officer James Mtonga said the district was targeting 56,000 children and that, by Friday, 58 percent of the target had received the vaccine.

Prior to the vaccination exercise, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda urged all parents and guardians to bring forward their children for vacation.

“Vaccination is the only way to stay protected against this deadly disease,” she said.

Malawi registered its first case of polio in 30 years in February this year, which has seen the country administering four rounds of the oral vaccine.

Currently, Malawi has one case of polio but neighbouring Mozambique has more than three cases, which poses a threat to Malawi.

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