Mwanza to vaccinate 762,858 children against measles, rubella

MWANZA: A TOTAL of 762,858 under-five children are set to be covered by measles and rubella vaccination here, through a special four-day campaign.

The Regional Vaccine Coordinator, Dr Amos Kiteleja, made the revelation over the weekend, during health stakeholders’ meeting to set up preventive measures against the outbreak of the diseases.

The coordinator called on people’s response, saying that measles and rubella have serious negatives to mostly those who have not been vaccinated. It is especially worse for expectant mothers, as their newborn might come out with cardiovascular complications, mostly heart holes, eye cataracts or being mentally challenged, said the expert.

“In totality, rubella and measles have lots of negatives, be it socially or economically to individuals and the nation. Imagine how much heart complications cost. “Think of how much time and money parents will spend for the child with mental complications,” he said while urging the adults to also get vaccinated.

Even children who have already received all basic vaccines must be involved in the campaign, as an extra dose to strengthen their immunity, said the coordinator.

According to him, rubella and measles are caused by the virus and spread by air, with the same symptoms such as fever, aching throat, as well as rashes that start from somebody’s face and spread to other body parts.

Dr Kiteleja said that the vaccination preparations were almost done, with about 710 immunisation centres being set up, including in schools, markets and religious institutions, to ease the exercise.

He expressed gratitude to stakeholders who have joined the campaign, mostly the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that supported the vaccine distribution to health centres. Gracing the meeting, Mwanza Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Amos Makalla, called on media and religious leaders to help in spreading about the campaign, to smoothen the exercise.

Last year, Mwanza had about 31 rubella and measles patients, said the RC, adding that: “We are now well prepared for this exercise. Every vaccination point will have not less than three service providers and the service is strictly free.”

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