Congo holds week-long maternal, child health immunization campaign

Brazzaville, Congo (PANA) - The Congolese government will hold a national maternal and child health immunization campaign, from 26 October to 1 November, aimed at reducing mortality and maternal and child morbidity, an official source disclosed here Wednesday.

The Director General of Health, Dr. Alexis Elira Dokékias, said the campaign would be primarily for children aged 0 to 5 years and pregnant women.

"We will, during this programme, hold activities bothering on the strengthening of immunization against polio, routine immunization and increased intake of vitamin A," Dokekias said, noting that a decline in immunization coverage in the past two years had led to extensive epidemiological outbreaks in the country.

"We ended up with coverage rates below 80 per cent, while the standard stipulated by of the World Health Organization is 90 per cent. We see outbreaks of epidemics, such as measles, whooping cough, old preventable diseases coming back," lamented Dokekias.

To make the immunization activities even more effective, the authorities are calling for the involvement of representatives of non-governmental organizations, associations, religious and media people in the sensitization of the people.

"Without an effective vaccine, it will be difficult for our country to achieve the Millennium Development Goals," warned the chief medical officer of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), Dr. Boris Hermann Ngossaki Didi.

Congo, which had achieved excellent immunization rates between 2000 and 2006, seems to be lagging behind in its vaccination efforts in recent years.

The Congolese no longer frequent vaccination centres for various reasons and this explains the resurgence of epidemics across the country.

"We find that many children die of anemia. Similarly, many women have children with low birth weights, because during pregnancy, the mothers did not have enough vitamins," Dokékias revealed.

19 october 2011 17:13:47

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