Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Liberia to vaccinate 650,000 children against polio after new outbreak reported

From AllAfrica.com:

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare will this month launch a nation-wide polio immunization campaign to quickly deal with a new reported outbreak of the disease in the country.

According to report reaching this paper, there is a new outbreak of Polio in the country following declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) three years ago that Liberia was Polio freed.

Speaking to journalists May 19 in Monrovia, Deputy Health and Social Welfare Minister, Cllr. Vivian Cherue disclosed that two cases of Polio have been discovered in the country.

Minister Cherue attributed the new outbreak of the disease to the constant cross border trade between Liberia and its immediate neighbors, particularly Guinea and the Ivory Coast.

Minister Cherue said about 650,000 children are expected to be vaccinated throughout the 15 counties of Liberia. She noted that US$50,000 has been set aside to fund the immunization process.

Minister Cherue also asserted that the Ministry of Health will shortly deploy trained health workers to carry out the immunization exercise in the 15 counties.

She described the immunization exercise as urgent, adding that Ivory Coast and Guinea will thoroughly be guarded during the exercise. She said statistics have shown that there is an outbreak of polio in some border towns of Ivory Coast with Maryland County.

In 2006, Liberia was declared polio free after years of polio immunization across the country code named 'Kick Polio out of Liberia'. Two years later, Liberia was finally certificated by the WHO as a polio free country in 2008.

The outbreak of the disease comes few weeks after the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through its Malaria Control Program launched a major campaign dubbed "Counting Malaria out of Liberia'. The exercise, according to the head of the malaria control program at the Ministry of Health, Dr Joel J. Jones, is intended to make Liberia malaria free.

The Health Ministry through some of its international partners is currently carrying out a malaria survey across the country to obtain statistics on the disease in the Liberia.