Maputo — A national campaign of vaccination against measles and rubella (also known as German measles) begins in Mozambique on Monday.
Launched by the country's First Lady, Isaura Nyusi, in the northern province of Niassa, the campaign is aimed at immunising about 12 million children aged between six months and 14 years.
The campaign will take place in two phases. The first, from Monday to Sunday, will cover the northern provinces of Niassa, Cabo Delgado and Nampula, and the central province of Zambezia. The rest of the country will be covered in the second phase, in five weeks time, running from 21 to 25 May.
On her arrival on Sunday in Lichinga, the Niassa provincial capital, Isaura Nyusi urged parents to take their children to the nearest health unit for vaccination over the coming week, reports Monday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
The health authorities say the campaign intends to reach those children missed by the routine vaccinations. The statistics from 2011, for instance, indicate that in that year only 66 per cent of children received the measles vaccination. This campaign hopes to break the cycle of transmission of the measles and rubella viruses.
According to the Ministry of Health, more than 90,000 cases of measles were notified over the past seven years, most of them in the last two years.
“This disease is still one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the country, and occurs in epidemics on a worrying scale. So this campaign is an important step for public health in Mozambique”, said a Ministry spokesperson.
During the campaign health workers will also take the opportunity to administer vitamin A supplements, and the deworming drug Mebendazol.