Immunization in Lurcuk Village, Tonj North County, Southern Sudan
[Warrap Town, Southern Sudan 43°C] Eight of us climb into the Land Cruiser and leave the World Vision compound at around 11h00. We drive to the brick storage room, where refrigerators store vaccinations for the immunization program (funded by CIDA) that takes place in different villages every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Tonj North County. We load tables and chairs onto the roof of the vehicle; carefully place coolers of vaccines against meningitis, tetanus, measles into the back, and toss boxes of syringes, gauze and rubber gloves under the vehicles back benches. Five children congregate by the passenger door to get a closer look at the khawaja: me the white man in the front seat. Half of them are naked. All of them reluctant to shake this khawaja‘s hand, despite customary protocol.
We drive for one and a half hours, averaging 25 km/hour, along dirt roads that will become impassable during the rainy season, which is expected to begin toward the end of April and last until October. As we approach the village of Lurcuk, Community Health Workers place the megaphone speaker onto the roof of the vehicle and announce their arrival. We continue toward the big tree by the local clinic and its borehole to set up registration and immunization tables.
Registration starts immediately after a public education information session about immunization. Mothers and their children continue to arrive. The two Community Health Workers who give the needles into the arms and legs of the villagers, and dispense the polio drops into the mouths of children work at a frantic pace for four hours non-stop. I am amazed at their patience in dealing with screaming and crying children who resist their efforts.
In total, 276 children were immunized for various childhood diseases like measles, tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and 167 women of childbearing years received tetanus vaccines.