More doses of polio vaccine arrive

More doses of polio vaccine arrive

THE second shipment of Monovalent Type One Oral Poliomyelitis (mOPV) vaccine arrived in Namibia on Friday as health authorities step up preparations for the second round of the mass vaccination campaign.

By yesterday afternoon the suspected number of people infected by the poliovirus had reached 179, while the death toll has remained at 17 for the last two weeks. Liena de Wee, chief of Epidemiology – the division in the Ministry of Health that investigates outbreaks – said only 13 of the 179 cases were confirmed as polio.The number of suspected cases include two from Omaheke which were reported on Thursday and Friday.Until last week Omaheke was the only region where no cases had been reported – meaning the virus has now been reported in all regions of Namibia.Unicef’s Communication Officer in Namibia, Judy Matjila, announced that the 2,86 million doses of polio vaccine arrived two weeks ahead of time, allowing the Ministry of Health enough time for distribution to all the regions and health districts.”Further assistance of cold boxes and vaccine carriers are also due to arrive within the week,” she said.The second round of the vaccination campaign is set for July 18 to 20.Everyone, including those who did not receive the drops in the first round, will be expected to turn up for the second round.The third round, which will only be for children under the age of five years, is scheduled for August 20 to 24.This will include polio and measles vaccinations as well as vitamin A supplementation.The second batch of vaccine arrived at a cost of more than N$2,6 million from Unicef in Copenhagen and was delivered directly to the Central Medical Stores of the Ministry of Health and Social Services.During the first immunisation round Unicef, through its global emergency programme, financed the consignment of 2,5 million doses of mOPV vaccine.At the end of last week, top health officials met in the Oshikoto Region to evaluate the first round of the mass polio immunisation campaign and to plan for the next round.So far the operation, in which hundreds of thousands received two drops of monovalent Oral Polio Vaccine (mOPV), has cost N$6,9 million.That excluded fuel and meals for health workers.The total cost is expected to be in the region of N$40 million.Liena de Wee, chief of Epidemiology – the division in the Ministry of Health that investigates outbreaks – said only 13 of the 179 cases were confirmed as polio.The number of suspected cases include two from Omaheke which were reported on Thursday and Friday.Until last week Omaheke was the only region where no cases had been reported – meaning the virus has now been reported in all regions of Namibia.Unicef’s Communication Officer in Namibia, Judy Matjila, announced that the 2,86 million doses of polio vaccine arrived two weeks ahead of time, allowing the Ministry of Health enough time for distribution to all the regions and health districts. “Further assistance of cold boxes and vaccine carriers are also due to arrive within the week,” she said.The second round of the vaccination campaign is set for July 18 to 20.Everyone, including those who did not receive the drops in the first round, will be expected to turn up for the second round.The third round, which will only be for children under the age of five years, is scheduled for August 20 to 24.This will include polio and measles vaccinations as well as vitamin A supplementation.The second batch of vaccine arrived at a cost of more than N$2,6 million from Unicef in Copenhagen and was delivered directly to the Central Medical Stores of the Ministry of Health and Social Services.During the first immunisation round Unicef, through its global emergency programme, financed the consignment of 2,5 million doses of mOPV vaccine.At the end of last week, top health officials met in the Oshikoto Region to evaluate the first round of the mass polio immunisation campaign and to plan for the next round.So far the operation, in which hundreds of thousands received two drops of monovalent Oral Polio Vaccine (mOPV), has cost N$6,9 million.That excluded fuel and meals for health workers.The total cost is expected to be in the region of N$40 million.

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