In Madagascar, a nationwide vaccination campaign against polio ended on Saturday.
Over a 4-day period, health teams traveled across the country to vaccinate nearly 5 million children aged between 0 to 5 years. Despite its success, it went without protest as some parents objected to their children being immunized.
“There are sometimes refusals, but not much. Those who refuse this do so often because the children got sick the last time they took the vaccine. There are also people who are in a religion or sect who refuse categorically; they say it is their beliefs,” Vololona, member of the vaccination team said.
It was in 2015 that the polio virus resurfaced in Madagascar, with a dozen cases diagnosed after nine years of absence, a return caused by not following hygiene conditions according to experts.
“This disease is actually a contagious one and is grabbed by dirty hands from faeces that are left everywhere, lack of hygiene. Here in Madagascar, hygiene is still very fragile so it is very favorable to polio,” Dr. Alice Rabemanantsoa, Polio campaign supervisor said.
The Malagasy Ministry of Public Health estimates one in four children does not have enough immunity against the virus while the WHO and UNICEF, say countries like Congo and Nigeria, have used twenty vaccination campaign to eradicate it.
This year’s exercise in Madagascar was the 8th.