Sierra Leone: 3.2 Million Children Targeted for Free Measles - Rubella Vaccine

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation yesterday (Monday June 10, 2019) commenced a nationwide free Measles and Rubella campaign.

A total of 3.2million children between 9 months and 14 years stand to benefit from a free Measles- Rubella vaccination during the course of the weekend long campaign.

According to the Program Manager of the Extended Programme on Immunization, Dr. Tom Sesay, they were providing such help because they believe it would contribute significantly to the reduction of neonatal, infant and under five mortality rates in the country.

He stated that the campaign was being implemented in the country because measles is a highly infectious viral disease for which humans are the only reservoir and that Rubella is a leading cause of congenital defects.

He noted that deaths and disabilities from Measles and Rubella are completely preventable with safe and cost-effective vaccines.

He disclosed that the MR vaccine will be administered to children across the country irrespective of their previous vaccination status with measles or history of illness and that the campaign will be a massive public health undertaking.

He said Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus and remains one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in children under-five in spite of the availability of safe and cost-effective vaccines.

He stated that Rubella is a viral infection transmitted by airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough.

"Sierra Leone is a signatory to the Measles Elimination Initiative. The campaign provides an opportunity for reaching and protecting children unreached by routine immunization services," he said.

Dr. Sesay also disclosed that Oral Polio vaccine will be administered to over one million children- age 0-59 months, as well as Vitamin A to children between the age of 6 to 59 months and Albendazole to children age 12 to 59 months.

He added that various health facilities across the country, as well as temporary fix sites will be used to administer the vaccines to the targeted beneficiaries.

"In the first 2-3 days of the campaign, the focus will be to reach the schools, where over 80% of the targeted population will be access," Dr. Sesay added.

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