Sierra Leone starts childhood vaccination campaign—WHO
The World Health OrganiSation (WHO) said Sierra Leone was planning to immunise 1.5 million children over the next four days, in the West African nation’s first public immunisation campaign.
It said on Friday in Geneva that the campaign would take place in spite of major challenges of delivering basic health services due to an Ebola epidemic.
It said almost 11,000 health workers would assess children between six months and five years for malnutrition and immunise children up to two years of age against tuberculosis, measles and polio.
It said the health teams would also administer Vitamin A, de-worming tablets, and offer HIV testing for pregnant women and their partners.
According to WHO, Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world.
It said more than 1,165 out of 100,000 women die during live births, while 156 out of 1,000 children die under the age of five.
Abu-Bakarr Fofanah, Health and Sanitation Minister, said such basic cost-effective interventions saved thousands of lives at the best of times.
He stressed that with the Ebola outbreak, fewer mothers and children had been visiting health facilities to get this free treatment.
Fofanah said in May and July, additional door-to-door campaigns would focus on measles and polio vaccination follow-ups and the distribution of mosquito nets to prevent malaria.
Meanwhile, British medical journal “the Lancet’’ latest publication noted that the collapse of health services in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the three countries worst affected by the Ebola outbreak, may have caused an estimated 11,000 additional deaths from malaria.
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