South Sudan: Mobilisator „Diktor“ Dak helps to save children’s lives

18. 11. 2015

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Due to overcrowded capacities and bad hygienic conditions in refugee camps in South Sudan since the outbreak of unrest at the end of the year 2013 there is a very high probability of communicable deseases infection. MAGNA has secured immunization of the most vulnerable group – children and women in refugee camps in Juba already since December 2013. We vaccinate against tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. We reach our achievements also thanks to our mobilisators – people from the community. Their role is to speak with parents, to explain and promote vaccination as well as other important health measures.

„Diktor“ Dak Dap, 23 years mobilisator of MAGNA, has been living with his oncle in Mangatain until his displacement in December 2013. „One day everything started by night shooting, which had intensified quickly and spread to all the parts of capital Juba.“ He stayed awake in fear all night long hoping that he will survive until the day light. At 6 o’clock in the morning he could not stand it anymore and when he saw a group of women, children and men running into safety, he joined them and they left together to the temporary camp Tongping.

After a year in the refugee camp Tongping Dak lost almost all the hope for his life. He was accepted on studies of management at Dr. John Garang school, but because of the fear and the uncertainty of future he could not enroll at school. The refugee camp Tongping was officialy closed in December 2014 and people were transfered into a bigger camp in the area of Jebel, Juba. When MAGNA announced the list of mobilisator positions in the camp, Dak signed and gained the position.

He likes his job and he is proud of it. Through the program of MAGNA were in the camp vaccinated thousands of women and children. Thanks to that Dak have not seen not even one child to suffer from deseases which can be prevented. One of them is polio. Mothers call him „diktor“, which means a doctor. He explains, that usually on Mondays and Tuesdays he is the most busy. He gets up very early, goes to work in MAGNA immunization centre in the camp PoC 3 (Protection of Civilians 3). He signs the attendance list, takes his megaphone and pictogram for health education and goes to the community.

He tries to provide health education in the places, where people are gathering in the camp and are more open to these topics – in the places like water source or distribution centres. He explains how vitally important is vaccination which can often mean a difference between life and death. He explains also that almost 100 % of vaccinated people are protected for the rest of their lives. „We go through the camp with our megaphone and explain to people in their mother tongue that they should let their children to be vaccinated and safe them their lives thanks to that. We help to many children.“

Currently five MAGNA teams composed of team leaders, clerks, vaccinators and mobilisators are since the beginning of October working on large integrated campaign focused on vitamine A and polio. They are as well reacting on outbreak of measles cases – highly contagious infection, which hits a camp with its more than 50 thousands population which found there its haven. 

The role of mobilisators in MAGNA program is very important for the success of vaccination campaigns. It represents the connection between medical teams and the community itself. Dak emphasizes, that „parents must be convinced about the importance of their children‘s vaccination in order to eliminate the contagious deseases from the camp. Any neglect of this call can cause another wave of infections. New people who have not been vaccinated yet are constantly coming into the camp. Have a look, it caused that we have straight 3 new cases!“

Except cholera and other water-transmitted deseases, malaria, measles and polio there are also other health threats in the camp. Measles hit the most intensively children under 5 years old. After the epidemy outbreak it is necessary to do quick and massive vaccination campaign to get the epidemy under the control. Other campaign took 9 days during which MAGNA has vaccinated till 8.462 children against measles and 8.862 against polio and has interfered also against lack of vitamine A. Big thanks to our mobilisators.

Bambi Badibangová, MAGNA coordinator for South Sudan


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