Only 70 percent of children under the age of five in 22 target villages in Meun district, Vientiane province, have been immunised against polio and given protection against seasonal diseases.
The district health office had set a target for 98 percent of children under the age of five to be vaccinated against polio, with the vaccines made available in villages and at dispensaries. But some dispensaries were failing to administer the vaccines.
The number of children being immunised against polio may fall short of the target because children under the age of five did not always make use of the service, according to a district health official, Dr Seng Soixa.
Dr Seng spoke to the media recently about the progress made in the ongoing supplementary immunisation campaign, which aims to secure the gains made against polio through stronger immunisation of children under the age of five.
“We know that not all children under the age of five are being vaccinated as their parents don’t understand the importance of vaccination.”
Since the launch of the supplementary immunisation campaign to prevent outbreaks of disease in the district, health officials and village volunteers have been entrusted to collect information directly from villagers, he added.
The figures collected revealed that the vaccination rate for this age group was less than the figure recorded by the authorities.
The programme aims to immunise and protect all children in the one-to-five age group through oral polio vaccines.
Children in the district are being vaccinated to further boost their immunity against polio under the government’s policy to provide effective public health services.
“The number of children being vaccinated in this district has continued to decline as many parents living in remote areas of the country don’t make use of health services because they don’t understand their importance,” Dr Seng said.
Children under five years of age are at risk of polio infection due to the failure to inoculate the entire population, highlighting the vital importance of this round of vaccinations in fully eradicating the virus.
According to the WHO Laos office, the organisation will boost the Ministry of Health’s initiatives on the prevention of polio by focusing on children at risk in target provinces. If their plan succeeds, polio will be eradicated in Laos by 2017.
Source: Vientiane Times