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Nov
01

Polio Vaccine Day in the Villages


On Saturday, I woke up at 6:15 am to travel to Amasaman, the largest village in a 5 mile radius and met a group of volunteers at the hospital there. All week, volunteers from different Rotary groups have been traveling to villages all over Ghana to deliver polio vaccines to children under  5 years of age.

I was relieved when I discovered that the vaccine is now given orally. We were alerted by the program coordinator that to date, over 45,000 vaccines had been given out during the program cycle, and that we had almost met our goal of 50,000. But 5,000 seemed like a daunting number, as Saturday was the last day of the polio program.

So off we went, at first by van, and then by foot, walking around the villages with megaphones announcing that we had free polio vaccines.

After visiting a home in a village, we would mark the wall with a “W4″ showing that we had covered that area.

 

Some children ran at the sight of us and were  dragged to us by their parents. There were many unnecessary tears, but it felt good to know that we were helping the children, even if they didn’t know it.

I loved this shot I took of a mother comforting her daughter after the vaccine… (see below)

After they are given the drops for the vaccine, we also gave them a red caplet filled with vitamin A. And lastly they were inked on the left pinky nail with a stain so that the people could tell who had been vaccinated and who had not.

 

I got used to walking up to little kids and asking them to show me their hands. Many revealed that they had already gotten the vaccine earlier that week. A few times we had lengthy conversations with families who explained that their children had gotten the vaccine last year, but still needed to provide some proof. Below is a picture of two women reviewing a family’s records showing their children had already been vaccinated.

It was a really successful day, and I felt happy to be part of such a worthwhile event. While back in the U.S., Iknow only one person personally affected by polio, here it is quite common and there are no services for people who have been permanently disfigured because of the disease.

Below are some of my favorite pictures taken yesterday. Enjoy and thanks for reading!

4 comments

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  1. Linda Covell says:

    Gorgeous photos. What a useful way to spend a weekend. You make the rest of us feel guilty. Keep up the great work!

  2. Carrie says:

    That sounds amazing! What an experience!!

  3. Dan says:

    Hey Sy.

    The work your doing is helping to get rid of the polio virus worldwide. With the exception of a few places in India. Pakistan and Africa Polio is close to being wiped out. I had classmates in grade school who’s arms and legs were withered by the Virus. I remember being one of the first to receive the live vaccine followed a few years later with the oral vaccine.

    Great work!

    All my love,

    Dan

  4. Donna says:

    Syambra,

    You’re an angel. You’re photographs are stunning.

    Thank you,
    Donna

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