Liberia UNICEF to help half a million children through vitamin A and

Aiming to prevent deadly childhood illnesses, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of Liberia have launched a five-day campaign to administer Vitamin A supplementation and deworming tablets to more than 500,000 children under the age of five. Some 519,000 children aged six to 59 months are targeted to receive Vitamin A supplementation while 502,000 children aged 12 to 59 months are projected to receive a deworming Mebendazole tablet. The drive began Monday at government health clinics and other designated locations in 10 counties across the country. “This public health campaign is completely free to Liberian families, and we call on all mothers, fathers, and guardians to bring their children to the nearest government clinic to receive Vitamin A and the deworming medicine,” said the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Walter Gwenigale. “If a government clinic is not near to your home community, ask your town crier and he or she will be able to tell you where the nearest fixed point is. Vitamin A helps protect young children from blindness, measles, diarrheal dehydration, and acute respiratory infections. Intestinal parasites can be deadly and the deworming of children also helps children grow stronger because it helps their bodies resist infections. UNICEF Liberia’s Acting Senior Programme Officer, Kabuka M. Banda, explained while this effort is underway in 10 counties this week, children in the remaining five counties of Liberia are receiving Vitamin A and deworming tablets through an ongoing campaign to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus from Liberia, in an initiative funded by UNICEF in collaboration with the Government of Liberia, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). “For the first time in Liberia, a national tetanus vaccination campaign is underway,” said Mr. Banda. “This is the start of a long-term plan to eradicate tetanus from Liberia and ultimately, the strategy will ensure that more than 800,000 Liberian women of child-bearing age receive three doses of the tetanus toxoid vaccine necessary to protect them and their newborns from tetanus. If successful, he said the strategy “will contribute to the elimination of tetanus in Liberia,” where the disease is a major cause of morbidity for children under the age of one.

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