Training health workers for Polio vaccination campaign commences in Kisoro District

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KISORO– The Kisoro district health department has commenced the training of health workers including district Supervisors and Village Health Teams (VHTs) that will participate in a three day house to house vaccination campaign against Polio.

The campaign that will take three days is set to kick off on 14th to 16th of January, 2022 where all children under the ages of five are highly encouraged to be vaccinated.

The campaign comes at a time when the country is on high alert following a communication from the health Ministry that there might be a polio outbreak in the country after samples on fecal matter collected in the capital Kampala tested positive of a rare wild polio virus type 2, whose vaccine was withdrawn from the country’s routine immunization exercises back 2016.

Annet Dusabe, the Assistant District Health officer (ADHO) in charge of Maternal, child health and Immunization said a district coordination meeting was organized to prepare health workers for this three days campaign.

Dusabe says Kisoro district does not have Polio however there is a high risk of international transmission since Uganda is surrounded by 3 countries infected with Polio.

“Kisoro being a border district with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), importation of the virus is most likely therefore we need to do everything necessary to protect our children”, said Dusabe.

Dr. Denis Rubahika Kinungu, a senior medical officer in the monitoring, evaluation and research department under the Ministry of Health said the Polio virus type 2 is the more virulent of the three types, 1, 2, and 3.

Dr. Rubahika said the resurgence can be attributed to the reduced routine immunization in the country due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Dr. Rubahika says the model of delivery is similar to the routine Polio vaccine and urged the public to embrace the campaign regardless of whether a child has already been vaccinated.

Dr. Nicholas Magambo Kwikiriza the World Health Organization –WHO In charge of South Western Uganda said this is a supplementary exercise to boost the routine Polio Immunization at health facilities across the country.

Dr. Magambo said the first phase will take three days and will be followed up with another in about a months’ time or two.

Dr. Steven Nsabiyumva the Kisoro district Health Officer said it is very important that all vitals are used and those that were unutilized are returned to health facilities without fail. Dr. Nsabiyumva said this guideline must be observed for accountability purposes.

He also stressed the importance of observing no touch technique by ensuring the infants are held on their backs by parents or caregivers allowing the vaccine of two drops per doze to easily be administered.

“All health workers involved in this campaign must wear personal protective equipment (PPEs) and avoid touching the children because we must observe the Standard Operating procedure (SOPs) against COVID-19.