Nsanje children scrambling for integrated Measles Rubella vaccine

The integrated Measles-Rubella campaign has received overwhelmed patronization in Nsanje district as more children are visiting designated centres to receive the dosage.

One of the children taking part in the process

The campaign which is underway across the country aims at reducing measles and rubella incidents is capturing children born after the previous measles campaign, vaccinating those who were missed during routine immunization, covering children inadequately covered by routine immunization and vaccinating those who never had measles-rubella vaccine.

A visit by Malawi News reporter in some of the centres like Mbenje and Ndamela Health facilities, Bitilinyu CBCC and Mbangu where the campaign is being administered has shown parents and guardians are bringing their children to patronize the campaign.

For instance, Mbenje centre had a target of about 2, 000 children however within the three day, they have managed to react out to over 9, 000.

The Mbenje facility centre Coordinator, Senior Health Surveillance Assistant Richard Martin accredited the overwhelmed patronization of the targeted children to heavy sensitization which have been carried out in the communities but also the district as a whole.

“As is the case with Nsanje district as well as this area, we intensified community mobilization. We started by meeting traditional leaders which were told the benefits of the campagn and their role to make the campaign successful.

“The leaders took the message to their subjects. We also devised some ways of making sure that the messages reach to the communities. This IS the reason people are responding positively in the area but also the district as a whole,” said Martin who continuously boosted that the district will beat the target.

Another health official manning Ndamela Health facility centre Laban Mtenje said this campaign has received the total support from the communities which is a sign that people in the district are now tired of health related outbreaks.

“Despite the intensive mobilization or awareness, people in the district have come to realize the importance of patronizing health related campaigns so that they control diseases they are likely to attack them or their children.

“I can remind you of the health related outbreaks such as cholera, measles, diarrhea which has been hitting the district. Now, people are now tired of such issues and are now open to take part in any health campaigns like this one so that they reduce the likely challenges,” said Mtenje.

Nsanje District Health Spokesperson Felix Simbi in an interview acknowledged the stunned overwhelmed community patronization on integrated Measles-rubella campaign attributing it to good organization and planning.

Simbi said people are showing no resistance as they have recognized the benefits of the exercise to their children.

“In fact I was in the Eastern Bank of the district where we saw people scrambling for the services and seeing no resistance. The organization and planning was good. We involved almost every stakeholder in the district including religious and traditional leaders in the mobilization process.

“As Nsanje district we are determined to beat the target. We are targeting 136, 114 children for measles-rubella vaccination, 47, 344 for Vitamin A supplementation and 41, 426 children for deworming vaccine,” said Simbi.

According to the WHO fact sheet on Rubella, it is an acute, contagious viral infection mild in children but with serious consequences in pregnant women causing fetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

A statement signed by Chief of Health Services Charles Mwansambo, Malawi government through the ministry of health with partners has organized this integrated measles rubella vaccination campaign to ensure adequate protection for children against measles and rubella diseases; intestinal worms and vitamin a deficiency conditions.

The Integration comprises of three interventions; measles-rubella vaccination which is targeting at least 7.9 million children aged nine months to 15 years, Vitamin A supplementation targeting about 2.7 million children aged 6-59 months, and deworming vaccine targeting about 1 million children.

The Malawi’s rubella-measles vaccine campaign is in response to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Measles & Rubella Initiative 2012 Global Measles and Rubella Strategic Plan covering the period of 2012-2020.

The Plan also aims at achieving measles and rubella elimination in at least five WHO regions by the end of 2020.

The Plan includes new goals to reduce global measles death by at least 95 percent by 2015 compared with the year 2000 levels; and to achieve, by the 2015, regional measles and rubella/congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) elimination goals.

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