Door-to-Door Polio Immunizations
Through maize shambas (corn farms) and overgrown great green lushness we trekked. Justina, Jackson, Kopa and I (the current health team) followed the lead of the Dispensary Nurse and 3 CHWs (community health workers) into Mbuyuni (an interior village in the Shimoni sub-location). We were supporting a public health initiative to immunize all children under the age of 5 against Polio.
VR1T44 3/3 was marked on the first door:
V-This house had been visited and the circle around the V showed that the children had been vaccinated.
R1- We were in round 1 of the immunization against Polio initiative.
T44- Team 44 was our team code.
3/3- 3 out of three children in the household were vaccinated.
We were part of team 44 bringing the pain… well not really but as usual, some babies sobbed as if the sweetened oral vaccination were jinn seedlings soon to mature within them into full-blown demons.
Other’s scowled furiously for the unrequested interruption from their games. Some simply gazed curiously at the oddly paired team of healthcare professionals, CHWs and wazungu (foreign) volunteers. Fortunately the parents were all for it and ensured cooperation.
Besides, they found a familiar face in Hamisi (CHW) who visited these homes monthly to monitor the health of these specific families. Each CHW in the Rise and Shine community health unit has a minimum of 20 households that they must monitor, visit and report on. We got to see Hamisi’s families! For me, that was one of the most remarkable parts of the day. We got to experience one of the most crucial CHW responsibilities first hand.
In the span of 3 hours we had visited 40 households, 2 schools, and 109 babies and children had been immunized against Polio. A good days work as always on the GVI Shimoni Health project and even more awe and admiration to our ridiculously hard working partners!
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