Polio gets a big kick in Southern Sudan

“We were incredibly proud that the famous Rotary KPOA football made it to Southern Sudan” writes Julius Court  – the KPOA coordinator – in his report of March 31 for the KPOA blog.

The timing was perfect. We had a range of events on 27th March to publicize the mass immunization campaign against polio which runs 29-31 March 2010 in Southern Sudan. The Government and international partners are targetting all children under five.

So… what happened in Juba?

The Minister of Presdential Affairs, H.E. Dr Luka Biong Deng signed the football and discussed the campaign. He noted that it had been a long fight against polio in Southern Sudan and the government was really grateful for the international support. Seen here with H.E.  is Daniel Deng (President-elect), Julius Court and Romanus Mkerenga (Chief of Health UNICEF).

Left: We had a ceremonial handover of the ball. Children from a local orphans charity called Confident (Children Out of Conflict) can be seen here handing the ball to Daniel Deng (President Elect of the Juba Rotary Club).

Most importantly, we held a press conference.

We did this jointly with UNICEF, the UN’s children’s agency. UNICEF have provided terrific support to the fight against polio in Southern Sudan. Dr Romanus Mkerenga, Chief of Health of UNICEF, highlighted the status of polio in Southern Sudan and what was being done in the National Immunisation Days. Rotary members Daniel Deng, Pete Adieng, Bill Kosar and Julius Court all highlighted the priority given by Rotary to the fight against polio.

Above: Team UNICEF (our KPOA partners who provided fantastic support).

Above: Team KPOA Rotary … in Juba.

We are almost there. The polio vaccination campaigns being coordinated by the Government of Southern Sudan’s Ministry of Health, WHO, and UNICEF are designed to counter an outbreak in 2008 of the wild polio virus in Southern Sudan. Following several rounds of vaccinations since the outbreak, so far no new cases have been reported since September 2009. But, until polio is defeated, all children in Southern Sudan are at risk of life-long polio paralysis.

We had a football match at Juba stadium. Somehow our Rotary Team managed to draw with a local youth team that seemed at least twice as fast and twice as skillful. We must have been inspired by the campaign.

Finally, following the tradition of other clubs along the great river, we took some photos of the ball on the banks of the Nile. This was really a special moment for the Rotary Club of Juba.

Left: President-elect Daniel Deng and Julius Court.

Our Club has only been chartered for a couple of weeks. It is the first club in Southern Sudan and second club in Sudan as a whole. We were thrilled to be part of an international campaign and to play a small part in Kicking Polio out of Africa. (Julius Court – Rotary Club of Juba, Southern Sudan.)

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One Response to “Polio gets a big kick in Southern Sudan”

  1. PDG Lemmy Ijioma Says:

    Great work Busuyi in Abuja. I wish that you put out more of the photographs showing those many Rotarians and our partners like WHO, UNICEF, DHL and co. Lemmy

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