Protecting children against preventable diseases in South Sudan
Four-month-old Abdo waits at a health care centre in Juba, South Sudan, to receive his polio and Pentavalent vaccines, which protects against five major diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b. Amin’s mother, Ivana, received information about immunisation during her first antenatal check-up.
Ivana’s oldest child is 10 years old, and Abdo is her last born. “To keep children healthy, the parents must bring them to the health centres for vaccinations. That is how we prevent infections. I know about only one child in my circle that is not vaccinated, and now the child is paralysed. I’m not sure what diseases the child got, but I don’t think it would have happened if the child was vaccinated.”
Due to years of conflict, access constraints, lack of information and misconceptions, South Sudan’s routine vaccination coverage remains low at only 44 per cent. UNICEF is supporting routine immunisation across the country by providing training for vaccinators, procurement and distribution of vaccines and medical supplies such as syringes and procurement, installation and maintenance of cold chain equipment.
UNICEF is also facilitating information campaigns to educate caregivers on the importance of vaccinating their children and mobilising communities before vaccination campaigns.