HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo says the UPND government is committed to ensuring that resources are available for all vaccines, including polio.
And UNICEF representative to Zambia Noala Skinner says her organisation has procured over 5.9 million doses of the polio vaccine for Zambia, to cover the first and second rounds.
Speaking on behalf of Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo, Wednesday, Lusaka Province Minister Sheal Mulyata said the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with partners, would conduct four rounds of the polio vaccination campaign to protect under-five children.
She said the first round of the campaign would be conducted in three provinces while the rest of the rounds would cover the whole country.
“It gives me pleasure to announce today that the Ministry of Health in collaboration with partners will conduct four rounds of the polio vaccination campaign to protect our under-five children. The first round of this campaign will be conducted in three Provinces namely; Eastern, Muchinga and Lusaka and we are targeting approximately 1.2 million children. The rest of the rounds will be conducted at least four weeks apart and it will cover the whole country and target over 3.5 million children. I must say that it is the government’s quest to provide universal health coverage and is committed to ensuring that resources are available for all vaccines including polio,” Mulyata said.
She said the government would ensure that no child will be crippled by polio.
“For us as a government, we want to guarantee the citizens that the Ministry of Health will provide the vaccine and ensure that all children are reached. Zambia through this Ministry will ensure that no child will be crippled by polio. I am therefore encouraging all the parents to allow their children under five years to be vaccinated against polio during these rounds of the mass oral polio vaccination campaign. Remember polio is a deadly and serious disease that can affect the children and can also lead to death once established. Polio has no cure,” said Mulyata.
And UNICEF representative to Zambia Noala Skinner says her organisation had procured more than 5.9 million doses of the polio vaccine for Zambia to cover the first and second rounds.
“UNICEF has procured more than 5.9 million doses of the polio vaccine for Zambia to cover the first and second rounds. These doses have already arrived in the country and have been handed over to the Ministry. The training of health workers in the 30 priority districts has been completed. We are also working with the Ministry to further strengthen the cold chain infrastructure. It was with a heavy heart that we learnt about the recent case of wild polio in neighbouring Malawi, the first case in Africa for more than five years. The confirmation of the case, which paralysed a three-year-old girl, is a call to action so that Zambia is as prepared as we can be for any cases here,” said Skinner.
“Polio spreads fast including across international borders and it can kill or cause permanent paralysis. Once your child has polio, there is no cure and children under five are particularly at risk. We need to stop this virus in its tracks before it causes further harm to children. Zambia and the rest of the world have shown a strong commitment to the goal of eliminating polio in our lifetime. And that global goal remains achievable if we work together and respond fast. UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and other partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are here to support the Ministry to ensure the boys and girls of Zambia are protected against any outbreak.”