Panafrican News Agency

More than 2.2 million children to be vaccinated against measles, rubella in Congo

Brazzaville, Congo (PANA) - Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Tuesday launched a five-day national immunization campaign against measles and rubella targeting 2.264 million children aged between 9 months and 14 years.

The campaign, launched in Brazzaville, will also include administering vitamin A supplement and mebendazole, a medication used to treat a number of parasitic worm infestations, for children from 5 to 59 months.

It targets 43% of the country's population, and is a prelude to the introduction into routine immunization of the combined measles and rubella vaccine. 

According to Congolese Minister of Health and Population, Lidya Mikolo, Congo, with the support of its partners, had made significant progress in immunization over a decade before recording a decline in immunization coverage from 86% to 69% from 2015.

Thanks to sustained efforts of the government and partners, in 2018 the trend of immunization coverage has icreased from 69% to 75%. The goal set in 2019 is to reduce the rate of unvaccinated children by less than 20%.
"The previously poor performances resulted in the resurgence of measles outbreaks in recent years in almost all the country's departments," said Mikolo.
The Congolese government has planned this year to introduce the combined measles-rubella vaccine into the immunization schedule of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). 
According to Mikolo, Congo is the third country in Central Africa to introduce this new vaccine into its vaccination schedule, after Angola and Cameroon.

​In the implementation of the 2011-2020 immunization action plan and the 2014-2020 regional strategic plan for vaccination, Congo plans to introduce the vaccine for the human papilloma virus, a vaccine that will be part of the arsenal against cancer, said Mikolo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Moeti Matshidiso said preserving the health and lives of children deserves the commitment of all - politicians, families, parents - because the child is the insurance of the future.

"With this new vaccine, the children of Congo, our children will now be protected against not only measles, but 12 deadly diseases."
This campaign is part of the implementation of the Global Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Measles and Rubella (2012-2020). It is being supported by Vaccine Alliance, formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI), UN Children's Fund and WHO.
-0- PANA MB/IS/KND/MA 5March2019​