Measles vaccination campaign in Pankisi Gorge
AKHMETA. 6 APRIL, 2004. On 5-9 April 2004 1,722 local resident and 846 Chechen refugee children living in Jokolo, Dumasturi, Sakobiano, Omalo and Duisi villages will be reached by additional dose of Measles vaccine and Vitamin A to reduce their vulnerability to Measles outbreaks in Pankisi valley and adjacent areas.
The Government of Georgia through support from international community (WHO, UNICEF, US Government) is committed to attain the globally declared goal for Measles elimination by 2010. Since revitalization of national immunization programme in mid-1990s Measles prevention and control was successfully managed through routine child vaccination (at ages 1 and 5 years) and epidemiological surveillance. Routine programmes are also complimented by mass immunization campaigns for more effective prevention and control of Measles outbreaks in areas and population groups with special vulnerability (IDPs/refugee population, conflict affected areas with disrupted vaccine provision services).
Measles immunization campaign in Pankisi is one of the additional (supplemental) vaccination rounds led by national health authorities in response to increased disease incidence in the country. Small scale Measles campaigns have been already implemented among high risk groups in Tbilisi and other regional centres in March 2004.
On 5-9 April 2004 total of 2,568 children from 12 months up to 15 years living in Jokolo, Dumasturi, Sakobiano, Omalo and Duisi villages will be provided with an additional dose of Measles vaccine to reduce their vulnerability towards recently reported disease outbreaks in Pankisi valley and adjacent areas.
The 1,722 local resident and 846 Chechen refugee children in line with Measles vaccines will be reached by Vitamin A capsules to further strengthen protection against the high contagious child infection .
Measles immunization campaign in Pankisi Valley villages is implemented through effective inter-agency coordination:
- Immunization supplies – 3,000 doses of Measles vaccines and Auto-destructive syringes to ensure safety of every single vaccination shot are provided through UNICEF and US Government support;
What are the strategies for Measles Elimination in Georgia?
The Government of Georgia will continue to strengthen routine child immunization programme focusing on maintenance of high (>90%) Measles vaccination coverage rates among 1 and 5 year age group. Up to 2004 UNICEF through US government support have secured non-interrupted provision of vaccine and injection safety supplies for the routine programme.
Starting from 2004 Government of Georgia will receive support from US Government funded Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation for introduction of MMR (combined Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine) for 1, 5 and 13 age groups. The will be a valuable support for the national immunization programme giving advantages of: a. protecting adolescent groups from Measles; b. ensuring at least 2-dose Measles vaccination coverage and c. preventing the risk of congenital rubella syndrome reasoning severe malformation and death among infants of non-immunized mothers.
Continue to advocate and improve public awareness on benefits of routine child immunization and the importance to timely adherence to the existing immunization schedule (calendar).
Ensuring effective intersectoral coordination and support for strengthening national and sub-national level capacities in Measles surveillance and management of complicated disease cases.
For further information, please contact:
Mariam Jashi, Health Officer,
Maya Kurtsikidze, Communications Officer, UNICEF Georgia