MOHS targets 3.2 million children for Measles/Rubella
The 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey indicated that Sierra Leone has one of the highest under-five and infant mortality rates in Africa, recording 94 deaths per 1,000 live births, and 56 deaths per 1,000 live births respectively.
Noting that Measles is a highly infectious disease that remains one of the leading causes of deaths in under-five children, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, under the Expanded Programme on Immunization, is planning to embark on a national Measles, Rubella and Vitamin A. Vaccination exercise targeting 3.2 million children nationwide. The campaign will run for six days starting June 10 2019.
According to officials of the Ministry, the goal of implementing the vaccination programme is to increase vaccination coverage for children and women of childbearing age, to maintain a Polio free certification standard and accelerate the elimination of Measles to which Rubella is also envisioned.
The Polio vaccination exercise is targeting about 1.3 million children from zero to 5 years in the whole Country, whilst the Vitamin A. and deworming (Albendazole) vaccines will be administered to 1.2 million children between 6 months to five years of age and 12 months to five years respectively in seven districts: Bonthe, Moyamba, Bombali, Port loko , Kambia, Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural.
Measles related deaths are caused by severe complications including diarrhoea, otitis media, laryngo-tracheobronchitis (croup), pneumonia and encephalitis. Measles is greatest in children aged less than 5 years in overcrowded living conditions, particularly if they are malnourished, have Vitamin A deficiency or are immune - compromised.
Rubella, on the other hand, is a viral infection transmitted by airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough. It generally causes mild disease in children but can cause arthritis and encephalitis in adolescents and adults. Maternal rubella infection in early pregnancy can severely affect the foetus and can result in miscarriage, foetal death or a combination of disabling conditions collectively known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome.
© Fritong Post Newspaper Friday May 24, 2019.