News / Africa

Senegalese Children Vaccinated Against Polio

Anne Look

Senegalese children were among the 85 million African children vaccinated against polio this week, as part of an international campaign to halt an ongoing wave of the disease in West and Central Africa.

Health workers went door-to-door this week in Joal, Senegal, about 100 kilometers outside the capital, Dakar.  They used droppers to give free oral polio vaccine to all children under five years old.

The campaign in Joal was part of a countrywide campaign to vaccinate the more than two million children under five in Senegal.  It is a campaign aimed at raising immunity as well as awareness.

Ibrahima Sakho and his wife had never heard of polio before their two-year-old son, Mamadou, was stricken with the life-threatening disease in early January.  Their son was the second case of polio reported in Senegal this year.

Sakho says he was in the Gambia working when his wife told him his son was scratching his back and was bedridden with a fever.  He says Mamadou was taken to a health center in Joal then transferred to a hospital in Dakar.  He says the first time he saw his son, Mamadou's arms and legs were paralyzed.  He says he was very worried because he did not know a disease could do that.

Two-months later, Mamadou can now slightly move his right leg and left arm.  His father says he has since learned how polio is spread and is urging other parents to vaccinate their children.

Senegal is one of nine West and Central African countries that have had polio outbreaks within the past six months.

This most recent polio threat can be traced to a 2008 outbreak in northern Nigeria that is moving westward.  Many of the affected countries, which had been polio free, became re-infected.

In a mass immunization campaign launched this week, the United Nations and international aid agencies aimed to vaccinate more than 85-million children under five against the polio virus in 19 countries across West and Central Africa.

UNICEF's Regional Communication Officer, Gaëlle Bausson, said this synchronized, multi-national campaign is just the first step eradicating polio.

"The second level of action is strengthening the health system so that every child gets systematically immunized when he has access to health care," said Gaëlle Bausson. "It is a much more complicated issue because you need to improve access to health care.  You need to improve health-care education so that people know that they should get their kid  to vaccination as a preventative measure not as a curative or an emergency measure to stop an outbreak."

Bausson said that education is key because, in the absence of an outbreak, people tend to forget about the disease and not immunize their children.

"For example, there has not been a case in Senegal for more than 20 years, so the level of information was quite low" said Bausson. "The population did not realize that it was still an issue and that it could hit anywhere at any point."

The Global Polio Eradication Campaign is spearheaded by national governments, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Rotary International, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   

The aid agencies plan a follow-up campaign in the same 19 countries on April 24.  

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid