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Immunization week : Gov’t combats malaria and measles

 Vitamin A and other malaria treatment have been administered to women
and children during the mother and child health and nutrition action

Reducing the rate of infant and maternal mortality has been the drive of the immunization week campaign organized by the ministry of Public health in the southern regions of the country. While women who have just given birth have received vitamin A and pregnant ones given the intermittent preventive treatment against malaria, children aged six months to five years have equally been administered the measles vaccine as well as vitamin A. The campaign that took place in district health centres of the different regions was launched by the minister of public health André Mama Fouda, in Eseka, in the Nyong and Nkelle division, Centre region. Statistics show that since 2011, the number of measles infection has been on the rise. Four epidemies were recorded last year, with some 54 confirmed cases from January to February 2012, 249 cases were confirmed in all the regions of the country. In a bid to put the long time scourge at bay, the administration of vaccines to prevent children from getting infected with measles has been the main concern during the campaign. As of now, the vaccination rate in the country stands at 60 percent a situation which according to André Mama Fouda, minister of Public health should have been at 90 percent. In Cameroon, 44 health districts are facing a measles epidemic and there is need for this to be rapidly eradicated. The campaign targeted some two million children, with 100 thousand newly born and 150thousand pregnant women. The health and nutrition week was organized with the support of the World Health Organization, with its representative, Charlotte Faty Ndiaye calling on the promotion of vaccination in Cameroon. The vaccines that were administered free of charge saw the massive turn out of children and women, joining their hands on the plough to combat infant and maternal mortality in the country. The ministry this year brought in other partners such as the councils, the ministry of basic and secondary education to ensure that the targeted number of children both those going to school and those out of school should be met. The various partners expressed their readiness to contribute their own quota in the promotion of health especially for children.The immunization week was also an opportunity to carry out a de-worming exercise. Apart from calling on parents to collaborate fully with health officials, the importance of keeping good hygienic conditions was emphasized. It is estimated that in 10milliion Cameroonians, one out of two suffer from intestinal worms. Some 8million children aged between 4 and 14 years were targeted for the de-worming exercise that took place in 70 health districts across the country. The follow up of children’s hygiene is becoming more and more difficult with some public schools lacking good toilet facilities and some of the food consumed during school hours not properly supervised. The simple act of washing hands after leaving the toilet still has to be over emphasized for it to stick.As the country’s authorities continually to improve on the health care offered the population especially the most vulnerable, women and children, the population equally has to play its role by adopting new ways of bettering their hygienic conditions. Strengthening the immune systems of pregnant women through the administration of intermittent malaria treatment will go a long way to combat the disease known to claim so many lives in the continent.

Claudette Chin

Claudette chin

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