Source: World Health Organization (WHO) |

Breaking the chain of measles spread amongst children in Tanzania

Measles is one of the most contagious infections known to humans and ranks among the top four childhood killers worldwide

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, February 25, 2024/APO Group/ --

Nearly 8 million children in Tanzania have received vaccinations to stay protected against measles-rubella following the recent sporadic and hot spots of measles outbreaks in different areas of the country since July 2022.  In response, the Ministry of Health together with the World Health Organization and partners conducted several periodic surveillance exercises and now the intensive vaccination campaign which targeted children between 12 months to 52 months of age across the country.

Measles is one of the most contagious infections known to humans and ranks among the top four childhood killers worldwide. despite the existence of a safe and effective vaccine, some 120,000 deaths still occur globally in a year. WHO has been working with the Government of Tanzania to set up comprehensive preparations such as a national vaccination campaign and conducting pocket of measles vaccination as part of its COVID-19 integration, training of healthcare workers, technical capacity, vaccine storage, community engagement, and ensuring formative supervision, monitoring and evaluation of the process to ensure quality vaccine delivery.

In a speech read on behalf of the Country Representative of WHO, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, Dr William Mwengee, WHO’s Immunization Officer congratulated the Government for the collaboration and advised that besides organizing a nationwide campaign, all stakeholders must embrace a comprehensive implementation plan to improve routine immunization service delivery and vaccine-preventable diseases surveillance. 

“I would like to assure the Government that WHO, UNICEF and all immunization partners stand committed, to supporting you by committing both human and financial resources necessary to achieve the high immunization coverage and timely surveillance needed to eliminate measles rubella”.

For the past 2 years, Tanzania has experienced outbreaks of measles which has so far affected over 1,500 children with more than 30 deaths. about 80% of all children who contracted measles were not vaccinated. On her part, the Minister of Health, Ms. Ummy Mwalimu who was represented by the Director of Preventive Services, Dr Tumaini Haonga indicated that the statistics of affected children by measles necessitated the timely campaign intervention. She acknowledged and thanked all partners for their immense support in ensuring the health of the children of Tanzania is upheld.  

“Child immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions for reducing child morbidity and mortality and the measles vaccination campaign was a step in the right direction to alleviate this virus, she concluded.

For a mother whose child received vaccination in Kondoa, Aisha Memga, was beyond joy for the protection the vaccination will give her child and family. “ I am happy for my family and all my neighbours whose children have received the vaccination against measles. Our children's health is a high priority. We thank the government for always making sure we are safe and healthy”.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads easily when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. It can cause severe disease, complications, and even death. Measles can affect anyone but is most common in children.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).