While it may not taste good, the vaccine will prevent the deadly disease. Doctor Tope Olugbile and a small team of volunteers are going house to house to immunize the 328 children in the Awada neighborhood of Lagos.
The doctor says, “Most of them have been immunized before. You know we have these routine immunizations. This is just a plus. This is more or less a booster to what they have been getting before.”
This team is one of many that is traveling to every city, village and home in Nigeria in an effort to immunize every child under five years old. Last year Nigeria had 790 reported cases of polio -- the highest number of cases in the world.
Here in the Awada neighborhood health workers meet little resistance from the families they encounter. Calvin Kalu says his first child is getting immunized for the first time, “I would say it is a dividend of democracy. You see, it is the first time we are enjoying this type of thing from our government.”
But Ngozi Chukwujekwu recently had her child immunized at the local hospital and was concerned about allowing a second dose in a short period of time. Dr. Olugbile reassured her, “The basic truth is, the more your baby takes the immunization, the higher preventive your child is against that infection…”
During the three day exercise, health workers mark the houses they visit and the fingers of the children they immunize. They will return later to immunize any children they miss. They hope their effort will help in greatly reducing the number of cases of polio in Nigeria.