Tanga — THE Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Ummy Mwalimu, has urged the health officers and stakeholders to run intensive sensitization programmes so as to encourage communities to turn up in large numbers for the vaccination exercise.
Tanga region has joined the rest of the country in running vaccination exercises for children under the age of one year, to prevent diarrhoea, pneumonia and meningitis.
The Deputy Minister gave the directive here on Friday during the Regional Consultative Council meeting in Tanga held at the Regional Commissioner's office after receiving the report from Tanga Regional Medical Officer, Dr Ally Uredi that so far only 526 children under the age of one year have been vaccinated since the exercise commenced in January 1, this year.
According to Dr Uredi, Tanga Region has projected to vaccinate about 63,000 children, approximately 95 per cent of the target.He said the number of people coming out for vaccination was not encouraging and urged the stakeholders to sensitize communities in their respective areas to bring their children forward for vaccination.
The RMO's report had vividly irked the Deputy Minister who wanted to know why the response was so poor. She urged that the health and stakeholders should take the issue of children's vaccination seriously, because its aim was to reduce the rate of deaths for children who are under five.
She insisted that an intensive education programme was required as community members have negative perspectives about vaccination, while others claim that the vaccines are harmful.
"Residents in Tanga and elsewhere in the country should be educated and well informed that the vaccination is not harmful and it has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
"The public also should be well informed on the importance of the vaccinations as far as the lives of children under the age of five years are concerned," she said.