Participants at a UNICEF-organised forum over the weekend pledged to maintain the region’s polio-free status. The fourth ‘Governors’ Forum’ on “Lobbying for leadership and partnership for the eradication of polio, promotion of routine vaccination and health of the Cameroonian child,” ended in Bafoussam on April 30, 2015.
Participants committed to never again allow the dreaded childhood disease to have inroads in the region.
In a declaration signed by all participants – including Governor Awa Fonka Augustine, all eight Senior Divisional Officers, senators, parliamentarians, mayors, the Government Delegate to the Bafoussam City Council, and regional district health officials – they committed to step up sensitisation in local languages. It was also agreed that better logistics for vaccination staff be ensured and efforts intensified to reach target population in remote areas. Meanwhile, polio monitoring meetings to be chaired by the Governor at the regional level and SDOs at divisional level are to meet regularly to evaluate the situation.
The Governor commended the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, for the initiative, noting that 86 per cent of parents in the region were now aware of the impact of the affliction after 14 mass vaccination campaigns were carried out since the discovery of two cases of wild polio in 2014. He added that only seven per cent of children in the region were yet to be vaccinated. Closing the event, Awa Fonka warned that all must be done to keep the region polio-free, especially as some pregnant women and children were still to be reached. He instructed SDOs to organise debriefing sessions with their Divisional Officers, DOs to inform them of the ‘Governors’ Forum’ decisions. SDOs are also expected to ensure that routine polio vaccination receives greater impetus.