The exercise will be done under the auspices of the ministry's Expanded Programme on Immunisation programme (EPI).
Mr Saharu Kanteh, communications officer for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, said the national EPI programme, since its establishment in May 1979, has been introducing new vaccines into the routine immunisation services.
He added: “The introduction of new polio vaccine into the routine immunisation programme is a sign of government's commitment to ensure the health status of Gambian children is maintained in line with meeting MDG 4 targets. These vaccines when given correctly using the right dose, route and interval, the recipient is expected to be protected against the particular diseases.
“At the moment, the Expanded Programme on Immunisation vaccinates against 11 diseases of public health importance including, Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Pneumococcal Diseases, Rota virus, Measles, Yellow Fever and Haemophilus Influenza type B.”
Mr Kanteh noted that these vaccines are all WHO pre-qualified using the safest technique. They are efficient, cost effective and historically successful, he added.
According to him, The Gambia's plan to introduce IPV into the routine immunisation programme is in line with the Global Polio Eradication initiative spearheaded by the World Health Organisation. This introduction will start country wide on 1st April 2015 as a single dose given at 4 month to all children attending immunisation services.
He added: “The primary role of the IPV introduction is to maintain immunity against poliomyelitis globally. More specifically, the introduction of the IPV will reduce risks and prevent type 2 circulations.
“Immunisation with IPV would lower the risk of re-emergence or reintroduction of wild or vaccine-derived type 2 polio virus. It will interrupt transmission in the case of outbreaks, and will hasten the global polio eradication.”
Mbye Njie, a health expert, said the IPV vaccine came as a recommendation from the WHO, adding that the initial target to get rid of polio was the year 2000.
He pointed out that the vaccine has been used in the developed world for the past 60 years. “We hope if the vaccine is used correctly polio will be eradicated by 2018,” he said.
By Abdoulie Nget