MEASLES cases have dramatically declined in the country after the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) administered 400,000 doses of measles-rubella (MR) vaccine in response to an earlier outbreak.
From August to October 2014, between 300 and 600 new cases of measles were being reported each week, although the actual number of cases was likely to be significantly higher.
Five cases of measles were reported during the first week of February, and the number of new cases have been consistently low over the Christmas period.
“The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is happy to say that the measles outbreak has been effectively controlled,” Permanent Secretary Dr Tenneth Dalipanda said.
In response to the outbreak, the ministry launched a national measles vaccination campaign, targeting people aged 6 months to 30 years in all provinces, except pregnant women.
Upon completion of the campaign, the ministry achieved 106% national coverage, possibly including people outside this age range.
“The success of the measles rubella campaign can be attributed to effective coordination by the ministry and collaboration with a range of partners and stakeholders.
“In addition, an effective communication and social mobilisation strategy ensured communities in all provinces understood the importance of vaccination and were supportive,” Dr Dalipanda said.
“The Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to thank all parents, teachers, church leaders, volunteers and staff involved in the national measles campaign to date.
“We would also like to thank partners working with MHMS to tackle the measles outbreak including the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, Red Cross, World Vision, Doctors Without Borders, Rotary and [email protected]
“Your support and cooperation means that our children and young people are now better protected from this potentially deadly disease,” Dr Dalipanda said.
Parents can continue to keep their children safe and prevent future disease outbreaks by ensuring their babies and children have received all their childhood vaccines.
Parents should seek advice from their nearest health clinic if in doubt.