Hon. Larkoh Champions Polio Vaccination in Tonkolili

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By Ibrahim Sorie Koroma

Senior Health Education Officer –HEP/MoH

Honorable Member of Parliament in Tonkolili District, Aruna Papay Larkoh has been instrumental in creating demand and mobilizing caregivers/parents for uptake of the novel Oral Polio Vaccine (nOPV) for children under-fives in the just concluded 4 day Polio Vaccination Campaign in his district. The Campaign started on Saturday 8th and concluded on Tuesday 11th June.

The Honorable Member of Parliament was visibly seeing supporting health care workers, including vaccinators and asking those critical questions in a bid to reach all eligible children in his district. In his quest to add value to the process, his monitoring took him to many communities in the district to see firsthand of the vaccination in communities.

He also took to the media as he was hosted at SLBC radio Magburaka to educate caregivers and the public on the benefits of polio vaccination in which he emphasized the role of Parliament and how Parliament as well as Honorable Members of Parliament can support the health system to improve immunization coverage, especially among children Under-fives. During his radio talk show, he used the opportunity to urge all caregivers/parents to be corporative and make their children available for vaccination as vaccination is the best strategy to protect children against poliovirus.

He said according to health professionals, “Once a child is hit with the polio virus, there is no chance the child will survive the virus, hence the child will have permanent paralysis and that the condition is irreversible”.

He further urged parents to take the obvious decision on behalf of their children so as to prevent the spread of polio and its impacts/consequences to our children as they will not forgive us tomorrow, knowing that there is a vaccine that can prevent the disease.

In his statement at the evening debriefing meeting at the Tonkolili District Health Management Team Complex in Magburaka, the Honorable Member of Parliament thanked health workers as well as partners present for their support and relentless efforts to the polio campaign as it is geared toward protecting children of the district against polio that usually comes with deformity and permanent disability.

He continued that that Parliament is now thinking to come to the ground to identify issues faced by Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) and identify challenges. “Gone are the days when Parliament would summon MDAs without first coming to the ground and see the issues……he continued, this time round, they really want to see what MDAs are doing in the ground, which is why they have started it now”,  Hon. Larkoh Affirmed.

He described his recent interaction with the team as an opportunity for him to interface with staff at the District Health Management Team (DHMT), healthcare workers as well as representatives of UNICEF and WHO.

District Social Mobilization Coordination in Tokolili District showed satisfaction and was amazed as he put it, “this is the first time in his over 20 years experience he has seen a Member of Parliament coming so close, interacting with health workers to support and monitor the vaccination process”.

He was optimistic that the role played by the Honorable Member of Parliament will continue as he identified rumors, myths, misconceptions, vaccines refusals and community hesitancy as the major challenges affecting people’s attitudes and behaviors around vaccinations of which he believed the Hon. Member of Parliament can be of help in addressing them at the well of parliament, through the media and communities. He concluded by according the Hon. Member of Parliament vaccines champion for Tonkolili District.  

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