At the Mary Ward Primary Health Care Centre outside Rumbek, South Sudan, the piercing sound of a choir of nearly 100 crying infants is not cause for alarm. Rather, the wailing signals something amazing. Every Tuesday, local children arrive at a large tent outside the building to receive their vaccines.
The weekly vaccination clinic serves between 80 and 100 infants. Most are on a five-month regimen of immunizations recommended by the World Health Organization, including polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, whooping cough, tuberculosis, diphtheria and rotavirus.
The clinic provides around 3,000 infant immunizations each year and serves an area of the Lakes State in South Sudan that encompasses around 24,000 people.
In addition to vaccines, Mary Ward offers a fully stocked pharmacy, examination rooms, a recovery unit of hospital beds and a school counselor who can address questions about mental health or puberty.
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