The purpose of the Press Conference was to orientate journalists on the benefits of IPV and urge them to raise awareness on the introduction of IPV in the country.
Dr. Dennis Marke, Programmer Manager, Expanded Programme on Immunization and Child Health thanked the press for their efforts and asked for continued support and stated that they would not achieve their goal without the press.
He continued that the main purpose for the Introduction of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine was to further boost the immune system of under five children and clarified that this is the injectable type of polio vaccine as opposed to the Oral Polio Vaccine, which is administered through the mouth. “Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) ensures immunity in the intestine of a child, whiles Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) ensures immunity in the blood stream” Said Dr. Marke.
He also educated that Polio myelitis is a permanent condition and stated that vaccination and effective environmental sanitation are the only preventive measures against the polio virus. He called journalists to promote vaccination and sanitation as they key in polio eradication.
He referenced that there has not been any single polio case in Sierra Leone since 2010 with a suspected case from neighboring Guinea.
Dr. Marke, while dilating on the expected signs and symptoms of polio, stated that there is 90% of no signs and symptoms however the few and most common signs and symptoms are fever, weakness of the limbs, paralysis to name but a few, adding that they were targeting 91% coverage of under-five children that are within 14 weeks from birth.
He reiterated that there has been side effects like redness and pain on the site of vaccination, Weakness of limbs, fever to name but a few. He urged the public to report to the nearest health facility if a child exhibits any or all of the visible signs and symptoms of poliomyelitis.
He assured that both OPV and IPV are safe with ensured immunity in children. OPV was first introduced in 1956 and IPV in 1958.
Lansana Alex Conteh, Principal Health Education Officer and Programme Manager, Health Education Division urged journalists to be very much helpful in the area of awareness rising, now that they had been enlightened on IPV. He added that they were going to launch the IPV introduction on February 23rd at the Wilberforce Community Health Center, Western Urban Area.