Ministry of Health yesterday rolled out the third phase of polio immunisation targeting 3 million under-five children.
Spot-checks conducted yesterday in the country’s three regions found that some parents brought their children to vaccination centres to get the vaccines.
Likewise, Ministry of Health officials brought the vaccines to people’s homes and markets.
Speaking on Wednesday during the launch of the campaign in Dedza District, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said polio was a highly infectious disease.
“Vaccines are the most effective remedy besides improved water and sanitation practices,” she said.
Chiponda said community leaders should ensure that all under-five children receive the vaccine.
“We don’t want to miss a single child during the campaign. I thank Unicef for supplying 11 000 phones for health surveillance assistants to help share information to communities,” she said.
In Blantyre, many people turned out in Chilomoni Township where Blantyre District Health Office launched the third phase to get their children vaccinated.
In an interview, Blantyre district director of health and social services Gift Kawalazira said they are targeting 263 000 under-five children.
“We will take the vaccine to people’s homes so that we do not miss any child,” he said.
The response was the same in Karonga District, where Senior Chief Kalonga warned faith leaders and herbalists against discouraging parents from getting their children vaccinated.
He said: “After the ministry vaccinated few children during the first phase, things improved during the second phase.
“However, I am optimistic that the third phase response will be overwhelming. But let me warn some faith leaders and herbalists who I hear are discouraging their faithfuls against the vaccinations.”
In Mangochi District, parents in Senior Chief Makanjira said they welcomed the vaccination campaign.
At Mponela, Ngwati and M’madi villages in the area, parents and guardians put their daily business on hold and stayed around their homes waiting for health surveillance assistants to give their children the vaccine.
Nsanje district director of health and social services Gilbert Chapweteka said they are targeting 55 460 in the campaign.
He said health workers will administer the vaccines during the weekend as some children missed out during the previous campaigns, especially those who attend early learning classes.
Malawi Government declared the polio outbreak a national public health emergency on February 17 2022.
—Additional reporting by Ayamba Kandodo, Martin Gela JNR and Jordan Simeon-Phiri