Nationwide measles vaccination campaign exceeds targets
MAPUTO, Mozambique, 4 July 2011 – The Mozambican Ministry of Health (MISAU) has claimed success in the nationwide vaccination campaign against measles held in the last week of May. The MISAU had hoped to reach 3.6 million children between one and five years of age during the campaign, which also included administering vitamin A supplements and deworming using the drug mebendazole. The Deputy National Director of Public Health, Dr. Leonardo Chavane, told a Maputo press conference on June 29, 2011, that in fact the campaign had covered 3,974,977 children – which was ten per cent more than planned.
There had been a few cases of resistance to vaccination, notably in Manica province where the followers of Johan Marangue’s church refused their children to be vaccinated. This fundamentalist sect believes that vaccination is against the will of God.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Alexandre Manguele, praised the commitment of the health workers involved in the campaign and said that their involvement and dedication ensured good results for the campaign. The Minister also praised the Government’s partners who provided financial and logistical support. While the Government of Canada was the main funder of the campaign, UNICEF Mozambique provided technical assistance on the logistical side. Dr. Manguele said that 1,900 health brigades had been mobilized across the country, each consisting of 5-6 members.
Measles is the number one cause of death among diseases that can be prevented by vaccination and one of the top ten causes of child mortality worldwide. The measles vaccination campaign is part of the national health week program in Mozambique, in which the targeted children also receive health screenings, vitamin A supplementation and deworming tablets. National health weeks are normally held twice a year, and measles campaigns have been repeated routinely approximately every three years.
For more information, please contact:
Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: email@example.com