South Sudan is undertaking a mass polio vaccination campaign targeting more than 1.2 million children under the age of five, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) said.
The campaign, which will be conducted in 35 of the nation’s counties, is being done in collaboration with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
Less than 50 percent of the children in South Sudan are immunized against polio and other life-threatening diseases, putting them at risk of lifelong disability and death, according to the W.H.O.
Mass displacement and constant migration, in addition to COVID-19 restrictions, have further worsened the country’s immunization coverage and children’s vulnerability to poliovirus, especially those in inaccessible areas.
Vaccination campaigns across the continent have encountered difficulties as countries grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic since its onset in March.
Polio is a viral disease which is transmitted from person to person, mainly through a faecal-oral route or, less frequently, through contaminated water or food, and multiplies inside the intestines, according to the W.H.O.
There is no cure for polio but the disease can be prevented through administration of a vaccine.
The World Health Organization has previously cautioned African countries against neglecting vaccination campaigns for other diseases at the expense of rolling out the vaccine for the coronavirus.