Polio vaccination meets resistance due to religious beliefs


By Raphael Likaka

Zomba District Health Office (DHO) says the first round of polio vaccination met challenges as some parents refused to vaccinate their under-five children on religious grounds.

Public Relations Officer at the Zomba DHO, Arnold Mndalira, disclosed this at a press briefing.

He said though many under-five children received the oral vaccination in Zomba, there were still other children that did not receive vaccination in the first round because of their parents’ religious ideologies.

Mndalira added that health personnel were also failing to vaccinate children that stay in houses within perimeter fences because parents could not open their gates to allow them to vaccinate their children.

He, however, cautioned such parents that refusing their children vaccination puts the children at higher risk of suffering from polio which can also lead to death.

“Let your children that are under five years receive polio vaccination because failure to receive the vaccination has devastating effects,” Mndalira cautioned parents, adding that polio is deadly such that the polio vaccination campaign needs to be given special attention.

He said polio symptoms include headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and many more, adding that polio is easily transmitted and can also be transmitted when a person eats food contaminated with feaces of a person with polio virus.

Mndalira therefore reminded parents with children under five to vaccinate them against polio during the second round of the polio vaccination campaign starting from April 25 to 28.

” Let me remind all parents with children under five that the second round of polio vaccination starts on April 25 to 28,” the Zomba DHO Public Relations Officer added with a call to parents to positively respond to the second round.

He also called on traditional and religious leaders to encourage their subjects and congregants to get their children vaccinated against polio in the second round of the campaign.

In Zomba, 94 percent of children under five received the polio vaccination in the first round and there was hope that Zomba will vaccinate more children in the second round, according to Mndalira.