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Massive Angola measles campaign to vaccinate 7 million children nationwide

Tens of thousands mobilized to assist in campaign

Estrelinha - Angola's Measles campaign mascot

WHO: Vice Ministry of Health, Carol Bellamy, the campaign mascot, Estrelinha (Red Star)

What: Carol Bellamy will visit Angola as the Vice-Ministry of Health and thousands of health workers and teachers begin the huge endeavor of innoculating seven million children aged nine months to 15 years.

When: 21 April - 25 April Bellamy will visit the central Angolan Province of Bie and its capital Kuito. The nationwide campaign will be carried out from April 21 to May 19. A press conference in Luanda is also being planned.

Where: The mobilization campaign must reach all 18 provinces and 164 municipalities, giving the campaign blanket coverage across Angola.

How: Nearly 30,000 people will be involved in the campaign spearheaded by multiple departments of the Angolan Government, with key support from UNICEF, WHO and all sectors of society, including churches and young people themselves. One hundred thousand pamphlets have been written and distributed to educate mobilizers, vaccinators, teachers, and children. Radio broadcasts will go out in 12 indigenous languages, TV spots are ready for broadcast, and traditional village leaders galvanized to use their enormous influence with rural populations. UNICEF and Angola's Ministry of Health have recruited and trained 24,000 vaccinators nationwide and 35,000 teachers have been recruited as advocates and educators for the Measles Campaign.

Why:

  • More than 10,000 Angolan children die each year from measles, with 95 per cent of cases occurring in children below 15 years of age.
  • Measles remains the leading cause of vaccine preventable mortality in Angola. In the developed world 999 out of 1000 children will survive measles. In Angola 100 will perish from the disease.
  • Angola has one of the world’s worst under-five mortality rates, with one in four children dying before their fifth birthday.
  • Angola is among the 10 countries in the world with the worst immunization coverage, and well below the average coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa, which was estimated in 2001 at 46 per cent.
  • Only 27 percent of one-year-old children are fully immunized against preventable diseases.
  • 45 percent of Angola’s children suffer from chronic malnutrition, illustrating the long-term negative effect of almost three decades of war on the healthy growth of children.
  • Thirty to 40 million cases and 777,000 measles deaths occur each year. (World Health Report 2001)
  • All measles deaths are preventable if children receive the safe and highly effective measles vaccine.
  • The annual reported measles cases declined by almost 40 per cent between 1990 and 1999.

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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

Mohammad Jalloh, UNICEF Media, 212) 326-7516 e-mail mjalloh@unicef.org

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, 212) 326 - 7452 e-mail kdonovan@unicef.org