REPORTS that 49 families refused to have their children vaccinated against polio in Eastern Province due to religious beliefs makes quite sad reading.
And this also reminds us of the time that the nation grappled with low COVID-19 vaccine adherence due to public myths based on religion.
It had to take an enhanced campaign led by President Hakainde Hichilema for people to embrace the phenomenon of co-existence between science and religion.
There is a place of confluence between the two in that as much as we embrace religion, so too we must have room to embrace and respect the law of science.
It is in this regard that we encourage the people of Eastern Province to embrace the rationale of polio vaccination to protect children from the threat of the ailment.
According to authorities in the province, the fourth round polio vaccination is scheduled to take place from tomorrow to October 29, this year.
The Government alone cannot single-handedly fight communicable diseases, hence the need for concerted efforts of every stakeholder to achieve epidemic control.
Under the vaccination programme that commences tomorrow, the target population for the campaign is children below eight years that were at risk of falling sick.
Government and its partners have already delivered all the logistics to the districts to carry out the vaccination and ensure that all health facilities are ready.
We therefore re-echo out appeal for all parents, guardians with children below eight years to have their children receive this vaccine as authorities have assured that it is safe and efficacious.
This is also important in citizens owning the Government’s agenda for universal access to primary healthcare by the citizens.
Moreso as we are entering the rainy season, a period when the country records an outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid.
Therefore, by embracing the vaccine against polio, we will be helping the Government reduce the cost of a health burden and channel resources to other needy areas of the health sector.
We also want to appeal to religious leaders to help sensitise communities on the benefits of up-taking medicines and vaccinations as a way of disease prevention.
This would help achieve a healthy population with the capacity to effectively contribute towards the country’s socio and economic development.