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Supplementary measles immunization campaign goes underway in Indonesia

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, 8 October, 2009 — A  supplementary measles immunization campaign in three  provinces of Indonesia got underway this week, expected to reach some 2  million  children between the age of nine months and five years old with the lifesaving vaccine to protect them from the killer disease. The campaign is part of the Indonesian government’s efforts to reduce the number of cases and deaths from measles by 90 per cent by 2010, and accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals on child health.

During this week’s campaign, vaccinations will be given in addition to the routine doses recommended for children, administered through every district health centre and local community health clinic (posvandu) in Aceh, North Sumatra and North Maluku. In addition polio vaccine will be provided to children aged between birth and five years.

“Measles infects a large number of children each year and can result in fatal complications related to pneumonia, diarrhoea and malnutrition,” said UNICEF Indonesia Country Representative Angela Kearney.
“Many children that survive are left with life-long disabilities: including blindness, deafness or brain damage. The fact that measles is preventable makes this an unnecessary and tragic waste of young potential,” she added.
Low routine measles immunization coverage in the three provinces has led to past outbreaks of the disease. This campaign, led by the Indonesian Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF and WHO, aims to reduce the risk of further outbreaks of the highly contagious virus.

Measles attacks the immune system, with specifically those under the age of five are most at risk.  The majority of measles deaths occur in countries with low routine coverage, and where second doses of vaccine are not provided through routine immunization services or through mass campaigns

While significant progress has been made in recent years to improve routine immunization coverage, Indonesia still ranks fourth amongst countries with a large number of un- or partially vaccinated children, based on joint estimates by WHO and UNICEF.

Efforts to increase vaccination rates have seen the Ministry of Health and other government agencies working closely with UNICEF and WHO to strengthen routine immunization, conduct supplementary immunization activities, and mobilize entire communities in an effort to vaccinate every child..

For more information on this month’s Indonesia measles immunization campaign, contact Dr. Vinod Bura UNICEF Health Specialist 62 811 166 1770, Melna Saraswati 62 812 699 0506 or Lely Djuhari 62 811 802 338.






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