More than 8 million children vaccinated against measles
Maputo, 17 November 2005 - Mozambique’s Health Minister Paulo Ivo Garrido has officially presented the results of a highly successful national vaccination campaign to the public and the media. According to the Minister, a total of 8,189,159 children between the ages of nine months and 14 years have been vaccinated against measles. This corresponds to 97% of the target population. UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala said, this success was of particular importance in light of the current drought emergency in parts of the country.
President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique kicked off a massive national social mobilisation campaign in the run-up to the vaccination earlier this year. Since then thousands of activists throughout the country have been mobilized to make sure that every child, even those in the most remote areas, would be reached by the vaccination teams. The campaign was organized in three rounds covering the north, the centre and the south of Mozambique, starting on 1 August. In addition to the measles vaccine, 4,391,090 children under five years of age received a first dose of the polio vaccine and 4,305,987 children received a second dose four weeks later. Furthermore, 3,398,535 children between 6 and 59 months received Vitamin A supplementation, which increases their resilience to many infections. The countrywide vaccination campaign successfully ended on 14 October in the southern provinces of the country.
Minister Garrido attributed the success of the campaign to the commitment and to the participation of a wide range of government and civil society organizations, teachers, community and religious leaders, political parties and thousands of young people and children during the phase of social mobilization. Private sector companies provided transport and storage facilities.
The total cost of the campaign amounts to 8.5 million USD, Minister Garrido said. He thanked the International Partnership against Measles, and especially UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for their support.
UNICEF provided measles vaccines and diluents, Vitamin A, auto-disable syringes, cold boxes for transportation and storage, vaccine carriers and other materials such as safety boxes for disposal of injection material.
“Mozambique has achieved a major milestone in the collective efforts to control measles,” UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala said. She highlighted the fact that during emergency situations there is always a very high risk of measles epidemics, which may affect thousands of children, if they have not been immunised. Currently, Mozambique is suffering from a prolonged drought.