The Gulf Provincial Health Authority (GPHA) has finally launched its MEASLES RUBELLA, Polio & VITAMIN “A” SIA CAMPAIGN over the weekend in Kerema town.
This was after a 2-day refresher training of 26 health care workers from the 21 health care facilities in the province to build their capacity around the Measles Rubella, Polio (OPV) and VITAMIN “A” Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) campaign. Gulf Province is the last province to launch its SIA campaign.
Speaking to the health care workers at the launching, GPHA Acting CEO Dr. Alexander Maha acknowledged his hardworking team for ensuring the activity was finally launched and ready for implementation despite challenges.
“We are the last province to kick off this campaign, but that doesn’t mean we are not going to do it, and we are not going to do it well”. It has been a struggle for all of us, we’ve had our battles to get this activity organized”, Dr. Maha said.
He said the average life expectancy is low, many infants die before they reach the age of 5 years.
“Most of these deaths are vaccine preventable, and activities like this is to help save our children’s lives. There is still a more important job to do, and this is the Routine Immunization, we really need to work hard to improve this”, he said.
Furthermore, Kerema Family Health Services Coordinator Sr. Margaret Malaisa called on the national, provincial, district and the village levels to work together to achieve one goal and aim to immunize the children.
“This campaign needs a collaborative approach from each and every one of us. The Key message here today is “WE MUST NOT LEAVE ANY CHILD BEHIND”, said Sr. Malaisa.
She said that the SIA campaign is a national activity and is being implemented because immunization coverage nationwide, including the Gulf province, is at an all-time low.
The goal of this campaign is to immunize at least 95% eligible children in the province against measles, rubella, and polio to increase immunity (Defence against illnesses). The target is to reach all children less than 5 years of age. That is 30, 000 children in the Gulf.
GPHA MR-SIA Team Lead Sr. Mahu Boro sharing similar sentiments, urged all – parents, politicians, Faith Based organization, NGO’s, business houses, provincial government administration and public servants and ward councilors, to work together with the Provincial
Health Authority to ensure all children under 5 years in the province get immunized.
She thanked all hardworking health teams and partners in the province from Santos, Rotary against Malaria, UNICEF, World Health Organization and the National Department of Health, GAVI Program for the continued support to Gulf PHA.