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Sierra Leone News: 20,000 children in Western Area Urban still not immunized - UNICEF

It is estimated that there are still 20,000 children in the Western Area Urban who are not immunized against preventable diseases. “Two in ten young children remain vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases, and we have to reach them to give them a chance to survive,” said Osman Manneh, Communication for Development Specialist of UNICEF.  Ben Coker, from the Health Education Department, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, said much needs to be done to achieve the 20% target that are left out. “No child should be left behind, because we have to reach the remotest rural part, including the western area urban.” Coker added that the barriers to reach the 20% target should be identified. A two-day review meeting was held to update the Immunization Communication Strategy of the Ministry of Health. Over 80 participants attended including civil society groups, health workers, market women and traditional healers. “We cannot stand aside and see our children continue to die as a result of missing out on immunizations,” according to Bailor Jalloh, of Focus 1000. There is a need to critically look at and update the routine communication strategy for better planning, advocacy and participation to ensure that children don’t miss out from all recommended immunization. UNICEF and the GAVI Fund have provided technical and financial support to the MOHS. There are many barriers that prevent the Government from not reaching the 100% immunization goal. Nance Webber, a Programme and Communications Specialist, said, “Credible data has to be used to link the problems to a viable solution, because barriers are not only related to behavioural change, but the services supply chain.” She said support for vaccinations is low adding communities want children to be immunized but want the vaccination sites to be closer to their homes, especially in rural areas.


By Ade Campbell

Friday May 17, 2019.


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