The Autonomous Region of Bougainville joined the rest of the country to launch the Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) Campaign this week.
The campaign aims at vaccinating children and babies below the age of five against diseases such as Measles, Rubella and Polio and has been conducted since the National Government declared a national emergency following an outbreak of polio in a number of provinces in 2018.
ABG Minister for Health Hon. Dennis Lokonai who was present to officiate at the launching stressed that the launching highlighted the critical importance of the Measles, Rubella vaccine, the oral Poliyomyelitis and the power of vitamin A that was needed to fight against the measles, rubella and Polio diseases.
“As we launch the Measles Rubella, Poliyo campaign today, I would like to put on record that we have successfully implemented SIA campaigns in 2018 and 2019, and we have not reported any confirmed cases yet in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, however, preventive measures such as vaccinations and surveillance activities are being undertaken by the department of Health to prevent the disease re-emerging in our region,” Minister Lokonai said.
Measles, Rubella and polio diseases are highly infectious and mostly affect children under the age of five years and can spread from person to person if they are not detected and treated. Polio can cause long term paralysis to a child while measles can cause severe complications.
Minister Lokonai explained that these diseases can kill if not effectively prevented, further stressing that while there is no cure, the diseases can be prevented through safe and effective vaccination.
“In our pursuit for a healthier and brighter future for Bougainville, we must acknowledge that our children are our most precious and valuable assets, they are the heart and soul of our communities, embodying our hopes and dreams, however, they face formidable threats that can impede their potential and hinder their prospects,” Minister Lokonai stressed.
The launching today signifies the roll out of the campaign in the region and will start on Monday 5th of June. The Measles Rubella Polio (MR-Polio) campaign will take up to five weeks with an additional week of mop up.
During the launching the Minster also acknowledged the support of the partners including the National Department of Health, WHO and UNICEF for the funding and technical support for driving this campaign and also commended the health workers for their tireless efforts and commitment at delivering such health care programs and campaign in the region.
“To our esteemed health workers, I extend my deepest gratitude for the tireless work you undertake every day, you are our unsung heroes, the guardians of our communities’ well-being. I implore you to continue your invaluable efforts, reaching out to every child and ensuring that no one is left behind,” Hon. Dennis Lokonai added.
Minister Lokonai also called on community leaders, parents and citizens to support this campaign and encourage families to bring their children to be vaccinated when the teams visit their homes.
A health team will be based at Bel Isi park in Buka starting next week, and the public can also check out notice boards in town, local health facilities and listen to the radio for Toksaves on when the teams will be visiting your areas.
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