Immunise your kids againts polio – Health MEC

 Health MEC Hope Papo has urged parents to immunise their children against polio and other vaccine preventable diseases.

Speaking in line with World Polio Day, Papa said: “Immunisation is the best gift a parent can give to a child. The Gauteng Department of Health provides immunisation services on a daily basis throughout the province.

“It views this as one of the critical measures in increasing child survival by eliminating deaths from preventable causes,” said Papo. “The Gauteng Department of Health provides immunisation services on a daily basis throughout the province.”

Papo said Gauteng exceeded the national target for polio drops (which is set at 90%) by 7% during the first round of the National Polio and Measles campaign conducted from 29 April – 17 May 2013.

“During the second round (from 18 – 28 June), 100% coverage was achieved. The last reported and investigated case of polio in Gauteng was in 1989.”

World Polio Day is commemorated on 24 October. Polio is an illness that causes sudden weakness of the limbs and sometimes death in children. The polio virus can be passed easily from one person to another through unwashed hands, contaminated food or in situations of poor sanitation.

The virus affects mostly children below the age of 15. It can be prevented by immunisation with prescribed polio vaccination at birth, 6 and 10 weeks as well as at 18 months. 

The signs and symptoms of polio include, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness and loss of function of limbs and muscle pain. The department encourages people with these symptoms to immediately seek medical attention at their local health facility.

To minimise the chances of getting the disease, people are urged to wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet. The polio virus is commonly spread through hands that are contaminated with infected stool.

Today, public health facilities around the province will conduct education sessions about the dangers of polio and the importance of vaccinating against the illness. The sessions will focus on pregnant women and those who have just had babies.



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