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Elisa Babu: From polio survivor to Yambio Hospital lab technician

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Tuesday, October 24, 2023

James Elisa Babu performs test analysis at Yambio State Hospital. (-)

Afflicted by polio at five, James Elisa Babu vividly recalls how devastating it was to find himself paralyzed and unable to walk, but he courageously fought the challenges of physical disability and completed his education to become a qualified lab technician.

Mr. Babu, currently working at Yambio State Hospital, made the remarks as South Sudan join the rest of the World to mark World Polio Day today.

The 29-year-old Yambio resident experienced the health condition which left him paralyzed and never able to walk for the rest of his entire life.

“I was not born like this; I was a kind of a person who was walking very well at the age of five years,” he said in an interview with Eye Radio. “From there, I don’t know what happened. I heard that it was polio that paralyzed me.”

But the situation did not prevent him from pursuing his dreams. After completing Primary Eight in 2009, he immediately enrolled in high school and graduated in 2016.

In 2021, Babu graduated with Diploma in Medical Laboratory technology, at Yambio Health Science Institute, a career that has earned him a job at the state main hospital.

Currently operating as a volunteer, James said he mainly performs different tests including blood transfusion, urine and stool analysis.

– Disability not inability –

Speaking to Eye Radio on the eve of the polio day, Babu urged survivors of the viral disease to never get lost in pessimism but use their skills and talent to make a positive impact in the society.

“I am encouraging those who are like me let them know that disability is not in ability,” he said.

“It does not mean when you are a disabled person, or you’re finished totally. Do something which can help you or which can help another people in the society.”

On October 24 every year, countries around the world observe World Polio Day to raise awareness on the importance of polio vaccination to protect every child from this devastating disease.

The event is also meant to celebrate parents, professionals and volunteers whose contributions make polio eradication achievable.

According to the Ministry of Health, South Sudan remained free from the poliovirus since June 2009 and was certified as a polio-free country in August 2020.

The World Health Organization recommends that to ensure a polio-free future for everyone, efforts must continue to maintain high immunization coverage, implement high-quality surveillance to detect any presence of the virus, and prepare to respond in the event of an outbreak.


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