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Launch of the national vaccination campaign

© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2011/Tarpilga C.
The Minister of Health with a child being vaccinated

By Moumouni sanogo

The launch of the third follow-up vaccination campaign against measles took place on April 9, 2011 in Ouagadougou at two observation sites - HSPC Nagrin urban centre and an advanced immunisation centre located in Tengandogo, in an informal settlement.

The ceremony was chaired by the Minister of Health, Mr. Seydou Bouda. The event was attended by Hervé Périès, UNCEF Representative; Djamila Cabral, WHO Representative; administrative authorities, traditional leaders, health personnel and included a strong presence from local communities who had been mobilised.

Scheduled to take place from 8 to 14 April 2011 nationwide, the campaign targets more than two million, five hundred thousand children from 9 months to 5-years-old.

For the UNICEF Representative, reaching the maximum population possible will allow for a sustainable reduction in child mortality, particularly for those children in peri-urban areas who are often disadvantaged and sometimes missed by vaccination campaigns. "The initiative to pursue vaccination campaigns against measles, in addition to routine immunisation, is extremely important, especially for malnourished children,” he said. "This type of campaign is necessary so that all children are fully immunised and child mortality from measles is reduced,” he added.

For the Minister of Health, vaccination is a sure investment for children because it makes them immune to preventable diseases that can kill. "The best preventive strategy is vaccination,” he said. "The campaign strategy coupled with routine EPI activities has helped bring the disease under control and the lethality associated with measles is now around 1%,”he added with a sense of satisfaction.
The Minister urged parents to continue attending health centres, to take their children to be immunised and to monitor the immunisation schedule for their children..

© UNICEF Burkina Faso/2011/Tarpilga C.
The traditional leader Toeg Naba Sanem of the village of Tengandogo was present during the vaccination drive

The launch of this campaign was particularly marked by the presence of traditional authorities at the vaccination sites. The traditional leader of Tengandogo was present to show his full commitment and support to the campaign and invited the people of the locality to vaccinate all children targeted by this campaign. "If I'm here it is because children are here. As leader, I am concerned about the health of our population especially that of the children, "said Chief Tengandogo.

It should be noted that campaigns coupled with the strengthening of routine EPI since 2000 (which saw the measles vaccination coverage increase from 51% in 2000 to 94% in 2009 according to the results of the EPI review) have contributed to a steady reduction in child morbidity and mortality from measles which was registered in 2007. In addition, the realisation of this third campaign will allow Burkina Faso, like other African countries, to achieve the pre-elimination of measles by the end of 2012.




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