The World Health Organisation (WHO) says Sierra Leone is working on reversing the immunisation rates and the use of child health care after services had declined by about 19% due to COVID-19.

The first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country on March 31.  Currently, there are 2 269 cases, 1 706 have recovered and 72 have died.

In the statement, the WHO says the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation has moved quickly to stem the growing anxieties and reverse the avoidance of critical child health care services.

Sierra Leone in collaboration UNICEF and the WHO has ramped up public health messaging through radio stations.

The informative announcements, played nationwide, urged mothers and caregivers to continue taking their children to health centres for the routine immunisations.

The WHO Sierra Leone Country Office has escalated its technical assistance, with all immunisation staff deployed to the field to help integrate immunisation activities into the COVID-19 response, particularly at health facilities.

Head of the WHO Sierra Leone Expanded Programme on Immunisation team, Dr. Thompson Igbu says, “One of the most cost-effective public health interventions is vaccination because it protects a lot of children. In Sierra Leone, we have 12 antigens in the routine immunisation system. Providing this service regularly to every eligible child means we are able to prevent illnesses that would have otherwise occurred if those children were not protected.”

Below is the full statement: