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Angola's measles campaign a standout success

National measles campaign reaches record numbers

LUANDA 17 May 2003 – With just a few days remaining before the end of Angola’s National Measles Campaign, UNICEF looks set to reach records numbers of children.

With the first two phases having vaccinated in excess of five million children, UNICEF and partners are currently reaching the most inaccessible rural areas in the campaign’s third and final phase. Using military helicopters, personnel carriers, cargo planes and 4WDs, remote communities across Angola are being protected against the country’s biggest vaccine-preventable killer of children.

“Measles campaigns have been launched before in Africa, but all utilised some basic infrastructure and existing medical personnel,” said UNICEF Representative Mario Ferrari. “Angola’s National Measles campaign is complicated by post-war difficulties of poor access and damaged transportation routes. At a time when bridges are broken, roads ruined, mines ubiquitous, and populations on the move, the challenges of the operation cannot be underestimated.

“And yet this campaign has been an outstanding success,” continued Ferrari. “Thanks to efforts from all sectors of Angolan society – from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Defence, the Church, traditional leaders, media, NGOs and the UN Family here in Angola, this campaign has shown what can be done for the children of Angola when all energies are maximised.”

The National Measles Campaign’s revised target is 7.6 million children; that is, every single Angolan boy and girl between the ages of nine months and 15 years. Current data received suggests that when the campaign is complete, the biggest health initiative in Angola’s history will have reached its ambitious target.

Around 10,000 Angolan children die each year from measles, with 95 per cent of cases occurring in children below 15 years of age. “This translates to 30 children dying every day from a disease that can be readily prevented,” said Ferrari. “These are the numbers that must be reversed. And I am happy to say the success of the National Measles Campaign means that process is now beginning in Angola.”


For further information, please contact:

Patricia Cervantes, Head of Information UNICEF Angola, (244) 91-501 943 pcervantes@unicef.org

James Elder, Communications Officer UNICEF Angola (244) 91 - 219 524 jelder@unicef.org

Jose Luis Mendonca, Information Officer UNICEF Angola (244) 2 - 332348 (ext 409) jlmendonca@unicef.org




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