Polio awareness campaigns had been ongoing in Southern Sudan since 2008, but more efforts were needed to eradicate the disease, health officials said at a media briefing in Juba on 25 March.
Every child who had not been vaccinated against the disease was vulnerable, UNICEF's Expanded Programme on Immunization specialist Daniel Ngemera said at the event aiming to inform the press about polio.
"All children who have not yet been vaccinated are like dry grass to a fire. The vaccination turns the children into green grass that cannot burn easily when fire is set. As I talk now, most children are like green grass," said Mr. Ngemera.
Minister for Health Anthony Laku said that UNICEF and the ministry had been conducting polio awareness campaigns throughout Southern Sudan to sensitize the public since 2008, following a polio outbreak.
UNICEF Chief of Health and Nutrition Romanus Mkerenga called on the public to continue fighting the disease by persuading families whose children missed their vaccinations to finish all the required eight doses.
In a separate event on 27 March, residents of Juba joined representatives from the GoSS, UNICEF and the Rotary Club to welcome the symbolic 'Kick Polio out of Africa Football'.
"This ball will tour 22 polio-affected countries in Africa to signify Rotary Clubs' readiness, and together with their international partners speed up the final push to kick polio out of the continent," said President of the Juba Rotary Club Daniel Deng.
The ball, which began its journey in Cape Town, was signed by South African Cleric and Activist, Desmond Tutu.
According to Health Minister Laku, a three-day campaign targeting three million children would commence on 29 March. Health officials were expected to visit households in all 10 states of Southern Sudan to immunize children under five.
The media briefing was organized by the Government of Southern Suda, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF.