T HE national polio vaccination campaign on Feb 11 is believed to have reached
nearly all of the target 1.7 million children.
"It's fantastic," said Dr Ly Nareth, the Ministry of Health's national polio
The campaign was held in all districts of Cambodia, except those in Khmer
With rectums from five more provinces to be counted, almost 1.6 million
children are known to have been vaccinated, 96 percent of the total hoped
According to ministry draft report, the lowest immunization rates of children
registered in some provinces were about 85 per cent.
Other provinces topped 130 per cent of the figure expected-representing the
large number of unregistered children who were taken to be immunized.
However, the campaign did encounter some difficulties, particularly a lack of
transport for equipment and some of the 40,000 volunteers who administered the
oral vaccine drops.
In Banteay Meanchey, for example, volunteers had to hire motorcycle taxis to
get to some areas.
No security problems were reported for the volunteers in the areas they went
into. One worker said they had not been concerned about KR guerrillas but were
worried about landmines laid on roads.
In Prey Veng, near the Vietnamese border, about 70 per cent of children in
Vietnamese families in one commune did not come for the vaccine.
Nareth believed this was because their families could not understand
publicity information on the campaign written in Khmer, or had difficulty in
being told of it.
She hoped that a second national vaccination day on Mar 11 would be better,
thanks to the lessons learnt from the first one.
"We will push hard the work in the provinces where they had the most
Meanwhile, a pilot program to give vitamin A capsules to a small
number of children will be included in the Mar 11 project.
Some 15,000 capsules are planned to be distributed in total to children aged
under five in one commune of each district in Kompong Speu province.
Nareth said a nationwide vitamin A campaign might be held to improve the
health of children, particularly their eyesight, if the trial was