26 November 2023
United for a healthy future: Polio vaccination campaign to protect every child in Tanzania
A group of dedicated Community Health Workers walk through Rukwa’s red soil with one mission in mind: To go door-to-door and ensure that no child was left behind during the Polio vaccination drive. " Before administering polio vaccines to children, it's essential to educate parents about the importance of immunization,” said Therezia Kaminda, a Community Health Worker from the Rukwa Region of Tanzania. “Through awareness, we build trust, dispel myths, and ensure every child receives the protection they deserve." Therezia has been volunteering as a Community Health Worker for over five years and is filled with joy by the community's acceptance of vaccination. The Rukwa Region Polio vaccination campaign was in response to two confirmed cases of Polio. With generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Tanzania in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO, launched the vaccination campaign reaching more than four million children nationwide in just four days. The campaign reached Rukwa and five surrounding regions: Katavi, Kagera, Kigoma, Mbeya, and Songwe. Pascal Mpondela, a father of three boys, highlighted the significance of having the correct information about vaccinations. "Our communities need to know more about these vaccinations because each drop brings us closer to eradicating polio in Tanzania," said Pascal while taking his last born to get vaccinated during this campaign. He also expressed his gratitude towards the healthcare workers for their extensive knowledge-sharing and commitment to ensuring that every child is vaccinated. "The healthcare workers are very dedicated. With every knock on the door, they make sure every child grows up happy and healthy." In this united front against Polio, Tanzania has exemplified the power of community. As the children of this nation receive their vaccinations, they not only gain immunity against a crippling disease but also inherit a legacy of unity and strength. Through these efforts, Tanzania paves the way for a future where every child has access to a healthier, brighter tomorrow. "Every child I immunize brings us a step closer to ending polio. I am proud to be part of this! It reminds me what impact a small act can have on an entire community," said Therezia with a smile on her face.