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S. Sudan Launches Five In One Vaccine, Targets 451,000 Children





By Jok P Mayom

JUBA, 17 July 2014 [Gurtong] South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, in collaboration with UNICEF, World Health Organization and other partners agencies, on Thursday launched the five-in-one vaccine, in a bid to boost the immunity of children against preventable diseases. The vaccine was launched during an event staged at Al-Sabah Children’s Hospital. The National Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro, said that South Sudan is expected to vaccinate 451,500 children below the age of one year by the end of 2014. Dr. Lomoro stressed that the country needs to expand the immunization programme nationwide, especially in areas that are hard to reach.


He lauded the government’s commitment to ensuring that no child should die of diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, liver cirrhosis, whooping cough, tetanus and pneumonia in the country. He also urged parents and guardians to ensure that children are vaccinated against the killer diseases.

Central Equatoria’s Health Minister, Dr. Emmanuel Lja Baya, said the aim of the campaign was to protect children against preventable diseases such as hepatitis B (which affects the liver, causing liver cirrhosis and liver cancer), dimophylus influenza (which affects the lungs, causing pneumonia) and meningitis.


Dr. Baya urged parents to look for vaccinators, rather than expecting vaccinators to look for them, to improve their children’s health. “It is our hope that the vaccine will reduce childhood morbidity and mortality…as part of government efforts in the country”, he noted.


Dr. Baya and Dr. Lomuro both affirmed that immunization has proved to be the single most effective health intervention in saving lives. The officials said that Governors, Commissioners, Mayors, Payam and Boma administrators will be followed up through the State Ministries of Health and other health institutions. This will make it possible to ensure that they were ensuring vaccinations were available, at least every month.


‘Penta Vaccine’ is a five-in-one treatment, known as the ‘penta vaccine’, which combines vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type b (the bacteria that causes meningitis, pneumonia and otitis). It is effective in preventing a large number of diseases which are potentially fatal to children.


Central Equatoria state’s Director for Expanded Programme of Immunization, Dr. George Auzenio Legge advised parents that there is an advantage in the new vaccine for their children in a routine system, targeting infants from six weeks to one year.


He urged parents to take their children for vaccination in all health centers. Emphasising the need for children to complete the course, he emphasized that “A child is fully immunized when he or she has received three doses.”