The four-year-old narrowly missed disability earlier this year after suffering a polio attack. But thanks to the vaccines she earlier received, Joyce is back on her feet today.
It all began with recurrent bouts of malaria in March 2020 when Choh Rejoice was then three years 8 months old. The mother, Veronica Choh, 30, did not waste any time in rushing her to hospital in Boumnyebel in the Nyong and Kelle Division of Centre Region where she and the husband have been living since 2009. Though the family hails from Bafmen in Menchum Division of the North West Region.
As time went on, the left side of the little girl’s body became paralysed. Not so sure of what was wrong, medical personnel decided to carry out massage on the affected part of Rejoice’s body. In the meantime. “But they later changed mind and administered only some syrups; while treating the malaria,” Veronica explains. In order to get to the roots of the problem, a sample of the child’s faeces was collected and sent to Douala for test. It turned out that the girl had been struck by the debilitating poliomyelitis or polio disease. Medical authorities now believe that the virus that attacked Rejoice was imported from Chad where some of her relatives earlier travelled.
Once attacked, the effect of the polio virus in the victim cannot be treated, explains Zenabou Simpore, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF Cameroon Coordinator for Vaccination. With time, the paralysis on Rejoice’s left side gradually went away. So also has she been able to walk and talk again. Thanks to the earlier doses of the polio vaccine the child had taken. Else, the Nursery One pupil today will be another sad case of a crippled polio victim.
“Rejoice is now okay, save that she complains of little pain in the left leg that was attacked by polio. She eats well, is able to talk fluently and can walk around without being assisted. Unlike in the past when she had to be carried around,” notes the mother. The third in a family of three, all of Veronica Choh’s children have always received the relevant vaccines.
“Unvaccinated children pose a great risk to others. Were it not for the grace of God and the fact that my daughter was vaccinated before against polio, she will not have survived the attack. Rejoice’s situation was so serious that she could not talk, eat, walk or drink water,” Veronica recalls with a sigh of relief. “Vaccination is important because it protects children against diseases. I urge all women to ensure that their children are regularly vaccinated,” Veronica Choh – who has every reason to rejoice – implores.
Rejoice’s story took star Cameroonian rapper, Stanley Enow to Boumnyebel on September 9, 2020. As UNICEF Cameroon National Ambassador, Enow came to encourage Veronica for taking the vaccination of her kids serious. He used the opportunity to appeal to local women to emulate Veronica’s example. And also participate massively in the forthcoming local polio vaccination campaigns in the Far North, North, Adamawa, East, Centre and Littoral Regions from September 18-20, 2020 and October 9-11, 2020.
“I am a star today because my mother took good care of me by ensuring that I regularly received all my vaccines. I plead with you all to do the same for your children,” Stanley told the crowd.