News Release

Children in Ghana Benefit from 2014 Polio Immunization Campaign

Two rounds of synchronized polio immunizations targeting 18 countries across western and central Africa were recently held in an effort to reach millions of children with the oral polio vaccine.

Partnering with worldwide and national organizations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helped initiate and financially support the effort to raise public awareness of the campaign ‘Kick Polio Out of Ghana; Vaccinate Your Child.’   

The Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service, in collaboration with World Health Organization and UNICEF, worked with the LDS Church and Rotary International in motivating parents, guardians and caretakers of children under the age of five to have the children immunized against the crippling and deadly polio diseases.

Martin Obeng, a volunteer coordinator from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Rotary Ghana sponsored joint meetings to plan for both the first and second rounds of the polio immunization. 

“They collaborated with the Church at every stage of the program,” said Obeng.  “Their support towards the eradication of polio in Ghana is greatly appreciated.  They were also very grateful for our help this year.” 

The Church's contributions towards the campaign included 10,000 posters and flyers, four full-page advertisements in two national newspapers, sending out one million text messages and social mobilization in the 10 regions of Ghana – all to raise awareness and encourage children’s immunization.

Also in preparation for the National Immunization Days against Polio, more than 1600 Latter-day Saint volunteers were oriented and trained to go door to door with a focus on advertising the polio vaccine and posting informative flyers several days before the arrival of immunization teams. Rotary Club members, Queen Mothers, and Junior High School students joined the mobilization efforts in Ghana as well.

House-to-house tracking by immunization teams, both in heavily populated cities and smaller communities throughout rural regions of Ghana, enabled individuals who could not send their children to a vaccination center to have them immunized.

Through these efforts, more than 78,000 families were contacted either personally or electronically during the two phases of the campaign. 

According to Dan Osman Mwin of the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Health, polio was endemic in over 125 countries and paralyzed about 1,000 innocent children daily before the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988.  But, through immunization efforts, the incidence of polio has since decreased by over 99 per cent.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports various campaigns to save children’s lives and protect people’s health in developing countries by increasing access to immunization. 

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