By Mary Poni
The Ministry of Health and its partners have embarked on a Covid-19 vaccination program that aims to reach up to 2.4 million people from all the counties in South Sudan.
While addressing the press in a briefing yesterday at Palm Africa Hotel in Juba, the Director for Expanded Program on Immunization, George Awzenlo Legge, said that the target population is ranging from 18 years and above.
“We are planning for the campaign and the preparation has started since last year. It was supposed to be conducted on the 28th of November last year. But due to other challenges, we decided to push it to Tuesday 24th of January 2023,” he revealed.
“The campaign is starting tomorrow in all the counties, though there are some counties that will not start because of some delay in the logistic desk. The campaign is going to be in two phases. Phase one is the one taking place today, and after 28 days, phase two will start,” Legge explained.
According to him, the activity would have more than 4,500 teams going out to work in eighty counties including Abyei. The team is going to be in fixed sites of health facilities plus some temporary establishments.
“This is going to be a massive activity where no county would be left out with vaccination. We will start with Greater Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Unity States which have received the vaccines; and that’s where the campaign start,” he further clarified.
Meanwhile UNCIEF’s Immunization Specialist, Dr. Samuel Patti said that since the vaccination started in April 2021, the country has so far reached to 2.2 million people of 18 years and above; which, as he puts, is roughly 13.4% of the total population of about 36.4% of the eligible population for the vaccination exercise.
He said the UN Agency is working closely with the Ministry of Health, WHO including other partners to make the program successful.
“We at UNICEF will go out to monitor and supervise the implementation of the campaign. And we expect all of us to be there in the field. If all goes as planned, we would be able to reach to the targeted population by March this year,” Patti emphasized.