Minister Praises Anti-Polio Campaign

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By Chrispin Inambao RUNDU The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, yesterday said the nationwide vaccination campaign against a recent deadly outbreak of poliomyelitis was a huge success. Speaking during an impromptu interview in Rundu on his way on an official mission to Grootfontein, the Health and Social Services Minister said some regions had coverage of 80 percent while others recorded 85 percent and some exceeded 100 percent. Over 90 percent received oral polio vaccines in the Caprivi Region where he spent the weekend opening clinics at Chetto, Sesheke and at Lisikili before he addressed students. According to reports he received, areas such as Oshana recorded over 105 percent of the population the extra number being the number of foreigners and visitors in transit. The comprehensive first round took place from last Wednesday until Friday and by yesterday and on Saturday the minister said mop-up operations where being undertaken to cater for what he indicated was an “insignificant” number of people not vaccinated. The World Health Orga-nisation (WHO) is expected to fly more polio vaccine into Namibia from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and by yesterday the drugs were already in Johannesburg en-route to Windhoek. The health minister said the only bottlenecks experienced during the nationwide exercise were a learning curve in that some vaccination points with less people received more than enough of the vaccine while others had too little. The places that did not have enough polio vaccine reported to the Health Ministry whose officials worked around-the-clock to promptly remedied this situation. Yesterday Dr Kamwi said Namibia and another seven countries were about to be declared polio-free by the WHO that was in the process of sending inspectors to assess its surveillance system on the disease and to look at other aspects but this will not longer be necessary. He said since the outbreak he has been working long hours and this had exacted a toll on his weight with a loss of 2,3 kg as he worked non-stop to ensure the nationwide vaccination campaign was a resounding success. New Era believes the different regions have already compiled reports that have been sent to their headquarters in Windhoek with regard to the vaccination campaign. The second round of the inoculation will take place in July and the last one planned for August will target children under five and include vitamin supplementation.