Major Immunization Campaign Launched
More than 1.2-million children and young people to be reached
RAMALLAH, 5 May 2005 –A major immunization campaign against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) was launched today for 1.2 million children and young people in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
The campaign is led by the Ministries of Health (MoH) and Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) of the Palestinian Authority, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Other UN Agencies and non-governmental organizations are joining the efforts in order to make it a success.
“An outstanding joint effort by many actors backed by a large scale social mobilization campaign using radio, television, mosques and printed material will help in realizing one of the largest public health campaigns implemented in the occupied Palestinian territory. says Dan Rohrmann, Special Representative.”
There have been several reported cases of mumps and rubella among school aged children and university students respectively in various locations in the West Bank and there is a high risk that mumps can be easily spread among school children. There is still a need to ensure full immunity against measles as well. Dozens of school immunization teams will, over the next few weeks, conduct operations in 15 districts in oPt. In addition, health facilities and mobile health teams will assist in ensuring vaccinations from main cities to isolated villages. This campaign is partly sponsored by the Government of Japan.
The MMR vaccine has been around for nearly 30 years, and is now used in over 90 countries to control major childhood diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is responsible for the majority of the estimated 1.6 million deaths every year due to vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.
UNICEF – the world’s most influential advocate for children - has been working to improve the situation of children and women in oPt since the early 1980s. Go to: www.unicef.org/oPt.