Polio Phase 2 Concludes

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK At the close of business yesterday, most polio immunization points had concluded the second round of the vaccination campaign by midday. The health official at the Katutura Health Clinic Wilhemina Ekandjo yesterday confirmed that only a few people showed up on the last day because they received their two drops of Monovalent Type One Oral Poliomyelitis (mOPV) vaccine on the first and second day of the campaign. “We had house to house teams and most people already received their drops on the first and second day,” she said. Based on the statistics of the first day, the Katutura Health Centre vaccinated close to 5 000 people, while the second day registered over a thousand people who received oral drops. By 14h30 yesterday, the centre had only managed to vaccinate about 200 people. There was no huge flow of people to the centre. Although very few people visited the centre, she said the vaccinating team would remain open even after 17h00 to accommodate any latecomers. According to Ekandjo, unlike during the first campaign where some people allegedly started feeling sick after receiving the drops, such cases were not there during this round. The second round of the polio immunization campaign started Tuesday and concluded yesterday. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday told New Era that since the second polio immunization campaign started, there were no problems encountered by those delegated to carry out the exercise. “Everything went on smoothly without any negative incidents, the ministry is satisfied,” Shangula said. Some regions such as the Erongo had within the two days of vaccinations achieved 93 percent (127 867 people) while Khomas vaccinated at least 79 percent (276 637 people) in that period. New Era could not obtain figures from the other regions by yesterday, as these areas had not reported back to the ministry. Though the ministry whose mandate is to secure the health of Namibians has done its part, personal hygiene remains central in the fight against the disease that has claimed several lives since it resurfaced. Ekandjo noted that polio is spread through stools of infected persons to non-infected persons. People are urged to wash their hands every time they use the toilet. The food should be cooked and vegetables and fruits must be washed before they are eaten. If the water is from an uncertain source, she advises that people consider boiling it before drinking. Since the polio outbreak was declared more than a month ago, 212 cases have been reported with 19 confirmed as polio. The remaining 193 cases could not be confirmed as polio by the ministry. However, most diseases are said to have symptoms that can mimic polio. The third round of the mass vaccination campaign will be from August 22 to 24 and this will be for children under the age of five only.

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