Friday, January 19, 2007

Abator Thomas launches New Vaccine

The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Abator Thomas has launched the (FIVE in ONE) Pentavalent Vaccine at the Makeni Town Hall in the Bombali district. The launching is in line with the WHO Regional Strategic Plan which calls on all countries to introduce new vaccine and technologies in immunization.

Addressing a cross section of the Makeni community, Mrs. Abator Thomas said Sierra Leone is one of the developing countries in which vaccine preventable illnesses rank among the major causes of illness and death especially among children under five years.

The Minister reiterated that as a result of the concern for the survival of children in the country, government applied for the introduction of the Pentavalent Vaccine to the Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunization (GAVI). Mrs. Thomas disclosed that the Vaccine is a one vial formulation of whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenza type B Vaccine, adding that the introduction of the vaccine would increase the routine immunization coverage and contributes to the reduction of Under Fives illness and death. This venture, Mrs. Thomas said is a clear manifestation of the country’s effort towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Minister reminded staff of her Ministry, especially District Health Management Teams and Peripheral Health Unit workers that government looks forward to their cooperation and commitment for the successful implementation of the programme.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Country Team, the UNICEF Representative, Mr. Geert Cappelaere said the 5 in one Pentavalent Vaccine offers major benefits to infants noting that it helps them against respiratory diseases, prevents acute and deadly forms of liver diseases as well as protecting them from neonatal tetanus.

He appealed to Health Care Providers to be friendly and dedicated during service delivery, and called on parents and guardians to take their children for all three doses of the vaccine.

The Director General of Medical Services, Dr. Arthur Williams hoped that with the introduction of the new vaccine illness and deaths due to vaccine preventable diseases would be reduce country wide.

Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Kassangha 11 of Bombali Shebora Chiefdom described the launching as the Health Ministry’s commitment in its decentralization policy

The vaccine is safe for children, and administered free of charge. It prevents liver sickness and jaundice, fever, cough and blood from the nose and mouth, tetanus, sore throat and whooping cough.

Link to Awareness Times