Immunization drive for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone
April 30, 2015 With the threat of Ebola considerably abated, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are commencing nationawide immunization campaigns for childhood diseases. The routine immuniations were put on hold while health workers and authorities focused on addressing the Ebola crisis.
Guinea launched a nationwide measles campaign on April 18 targeting 1.3 million children aged six months to nine years. Liberia is planning a campaign to provide measles and polio vaccinations to over 700,000 children under five years old.
Training is necessary because of residual fears about Ebola. Sarah Kaba, head of a village health center in Gueckedou, says
“Because of Ebola, the community is wary. People are afraid to go to a health center because they think they might be suspected of having Ebola. But today, thanks to the sensitization that has been done, they have come to receive their vaccinations,”
And Teno Farasekouleno, a health worker in Guinea says
“People are afraid because of Ebola. But, with sensitization, they can understand why vaccination is important,”
UNICEF is supporting the campaign and has supplied over 750,000 doses of measles vaccines. It is also helping to train more than 3,000 vaccinators and county health officials and is working with the government on nationwide social mobilization efforts to raise awareness for the campaign.