Mr. Mohamed Sesay, the District Monitoring & Evaluation Officer of Ministry of Health and Sanitation for Port Loko district has said the re-surfacing Ebola virus disease in Port Loko has threatened an otherwise smooth success of ongoing Polio and Measles vaccination campaigns. Mr. Sesay said they have however made progress as a ministry in response to the campaign of polio and measles in the district.
The campaign is being funded by UNICEF, WHO and other development partners in the country.
Speaking to a monitoring team from UNICEF, the M & E officer underscored the importance of the campaign especially in the post Ebola recovery period. He said in Port Loko they are operating in 11 chiefdoms with so many challenges attached.
He said the campaign went on relatively successfully but lamented on challenges faced because of resurgence of the virus in recent weeks.
He said Ebola Virus re-surfacing back in the district has posed fear and serious threat to not only the current polio and measles vaccination process but also other health interventions.
He said fear of Ebola has restricted women not to take their children to the vaccination center in Port Loko. He said based on that, the necessary preventive measures are being put in place whilst at the same time tracing defaulters to encourage them to undertake the polio and measles vaccination.
He said transportation is also another issue which needs to be addressed for future interventions. He said for every campaign to be successful and create the yielded impact in both community and national level, there must be better transportation put in place.
He said most of their operational areas are hard to reach areas and that some place only motor bikes goes to those places.
He noted that despite the massive sensitization that was done in relation to the vaccination, people still need to be educated and well informed on the ongoing process.
In a related development, Nurse Abibatu Bangura at Mal Village in Maforki Chiefdom in the Port Loko District and Nurse Fatmata Silla of Romeni Kasseh Chiefdom in Port Loko District also expressed similar challenges at their respective community areas. According to the information from the various centers a good number of patients don’t come to hospital when they are sick.
They said this could have contributed to the increase in number of Ebola cases in the past and even be a cause for the new cases in the district.
They noted that for effective awareness raising and accepting whatever information in relation to health, the stakeholders at community levels should be involve. By using their children, wife, chiefs and other close relatives to preach messages, the villagers will believe in the message and there will be a strong confidence.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.