|‘Take advantage of immunisation week’|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2012 20:50|
GOVERNMENT has called on parents to bring children between the ages of zero and five years for supplementary national immunisations starting next week. Director of epidemiology and disease control in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr Portia Manangazira said parents and guardians should take advantage of the programme for effective prevention of childhood illnesses.
The immunisation week will run between June 18 and 22 this year.
“I would like to call on all parents to bring their children for immunisation from the 18th to the 22nd. It’s a free service but very essential. As a ministry we are trying to avoid the 2009 scenario where we had a measles outbreak,” she said.
Dr Manangazira said Government is targeting to reach to at least 1,9 million children from birth to the age of five.
All clinics and hospitals in Zimbabwe’s 62 districts and additional posts will be offering free vaccination and vitamin A supplementation.
“National immunisation days are supplementary and do not replace routine immunisation. They were also put in place to mop up the estimated 15 percent of vaccinated children who fail to seroconvert (develop antibodies that fight diseases),” Dr Manangazira said.
She said during the same week, Government is also looking forward to introduce the pneumococal vaccine that will help children fight pneumonia and meningitis, which will be administered three times at six, 10 and 14 weeks.
Globally, immunisation is estimated to prevent between two and three million deaths each year from diseases like diphtheria, measles, mumps, tetanus, rubella and whooping cough.
Vaccines are considered one of public health’s best buys. It is also a significant contributor to the Millennium Development Goals, particularly MDG 4 requiring a two-thirds reduction in child mortality by 2015.