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A Polio Survivor In The DRC Spreads The Word To Parents: Vaccines Work

A polio survivor being pushed in a wheelchair in the Democratic Republic of the Congo outside a hospital

This article was posted in Forbes. Read more here

Paralyzed as a child by polio, Rajabu Vampise is taking his message to the streets, urging parents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to vaccinate their children.

Building trust in vaccines safeguards children’s health and well-being

Rajabu Vampise was a happy, healthy 2-year-old when he contracted polio and lost the use of his legs. His parents were opposed to vaccination, so he was not protected from the deadly viral disease.

Now 27, he works as a UNICEF-supported community mobilizer in Maniema province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, raising awareness about the power of vaccines. He uses a hand-pedal bike to get around in his community, encouraging mothers and fathers to vaccinate their children.

“Polio is a very dangerous disease,” Vampise says. “I just want to raise parents’ awareness; they should not refuse to have their children vaccinated. If I’d been vaccinated, I wouldn’t be in this state.”

UNICEF and partners vaccinate over 400 million children against polio every year

Thanks to dedicated community workers like Vampise, polio has been nearly eradicated in many parts of the world. To eliminate polio completely, every child in every household must be vaccinated.

Led by national governments and supported by six core partners — UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) vaccinates over 400 million children against polio each year.

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