South Sudan begins polio campaign

South Sudan's Ministry of Health recently launched a major door-to-door polio vaccination campaign for all children under the age of five living in Eastern Equatoria State.

Health Minister Dr. Margaret Itto Leonardo said that the campaign would run for almost one week. She is advising parents in the region to make sure they allow their children to take the vaccine, according to

The ministry has sent nearly 1,600 trained workers and supervisors to the area. She said she hopes that the vaccinators will be able to cover the majority of the state in the campaign's first four days.

Itto said that her ministry is following the central government's directive that South Sudan be 100 percent free from the crippling childhood disease.

State Minister of Education Stephen Paar Kuo recently said that children who are vaccinated will receive identifying cards so that those who were missed can be identified.

"Polio has affected us and this generation might be better. If you go back to our generation, it has actually killed a lot of children. It had paralyzed many of our age group," Paar said, reports. "Fortunately now, we are in action to protect this future generation."

Paar also expressed disappointment over reports that parents were hiding their children to avoid the vaccination.