Published: Monday, 05 October 2015 12:10
From 2 -5 October The Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) held a 4 day National Polio campaign to immunize all children with an emphasis on reaching every child through this house to house campaign. Recognising the role of civil society in mobilising communities, they called on the civil society platform to engage their networks such ad Religious Leaders, Market Women and Traditional Healers to support the campaign.
FOCUS 1000, Host for the Scaling and Nutrition and Immunization civil society platform known as HANSL, have been engaging religious leaders and traditional healers to support the governments Ebola eradication response plan. With links to communities, they have been strong mobilisers effecting social change and contributing the eradication strategy across the country to stop the deadly virus through sermons in mosques and churches, house to house engagement, community outreach and bush to bush drives to halt the transmission chain.
Activities for the Polio campaign included Television and radio programmes before and during the week-long programme. At National level the platform conducted activities in the Western Area District (Urban and Rural), where they established five teams comprised of Islamic and Christian action group leaders, market women, traditional healers and representatives from the platform district coordinating body to support activities in five locations; the National Stadium and Attuga Stadium currently housing over 2000 flood victims from the Western Area, and three slum communities KrooBay in the centre of the city, Old Wharf in the east and Tombo, a rural fishing community. Their role was to support MoHS by reaching community members, mothers, caregivers to have their children immunized.
In 8 other districts coordinating bodies or taskforces in Bombali, Kono, Tonkolili. Bo, Moyamba, Port Loko, Koinadugu, Kenema also supported government by moblisiing communities in their operational areas and monitoring activities to ensure safety protocols put in place since the Ebola outbreak (vaccinators wearing gloves to immunize and regular handwashing with soap) were adhered to by vaccinators.
Civil Society contribution was appreciated by EPI following a successful campaign. With our numbers and our links in the communities we are confident that we will be able to continue to contribute to government’s efforts to increase immunization coverage for Polio eradication in Sierra Leone.