“The outreach vaccination was a big help to mothers. I do not have to walk 25 miles to reach Melesuk Primary Health Care Unit to get my baby vaccinated”, says 30-year old Anna Juan, a mother of six.
Anna’s youngest baby is 2-months old Ruprina. The family is from Terekeka County, Central Equatoria State. Anna shares that she gave birth to Ruprina during the intercommunal clashes in the county between February and April.
“My baby and many other children in my community were not vaccinated from preventable diseases because most of us went in hiding,” Anna said most mothers were not home.
“I am happy that the outreach vaccinators follow us to our villages to ensure that our children like Ruprina are vaccinated. Ruprina’s health could be attacked by any of the preventable diseases”, Anna adds.
In coordination with the County Health Department and funding from the United State Agency for Development (USAID), World Vision’s CORE Group Project was able to conduct 117 outreach vaccination sessions in its supported counties in June 2021.
The outreach campaign reached 3,573 children under one year old with different vaccination antigens which include Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), oral Polio vaccine, pentavalent, and measles.
Most children in South Sudan have limited access to immunization services especially those who live in the remote areas. This increases their susceptibility to vaccine-preventable diseases.
The community has a problem with the supply of water and only has few water points in the village. Often, the women have to walk to other villages in search of water for their families.
Anna said that she had gone to the well to fetch water when the vaccinators visited her village. On her way home, her neighbors told her about it. She shares, “My children also alerted me about the ongoing vaccination when I got home.”
Anna recalled the time when they were not vaccinated against the diseases and did not even have basic information about it. She says,” Growing up, the people did not take their children to the health centers because they were far. Hence, they opted to treat their children with local herbs.”
“All my six children now get vaccinated close to our doorstep. Thanks to our vaccinators who take time and bring the services close to our village. There is no joy than that of seeing my children healthy and safe”, she says.
“Most children in South Sudan have limited access to immunization services especially those who live in the remote areas. This increases their susceptibility to vaccine-preventable diseases”, says Anthony Kisanga, CORE Group Project Manager.
"With the outreach program we can strengthen the universal health coverage in the country", Kisanga concludes.
Story and photos by Jemima Tumalu, Communications Officer