UN-backed drive aims to protect 2 million Zambian children from measles
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) are gearing up for up for a vaccination campaign that aims to protect 2 million children in Zambia from measles.
The drive, which will be held from 9 to 14 July, involves nearly 9,000 vaccinators and volunteers, still has a $500,000 shortfall in its $3 million budget, said the agencies, which have provided over $2 million for the effort.
In addition to providing measles vaccines to over 2 million children, the campaign includes Vitamin A supplementation – to boost immunity – and de-worming Mebendazole tablets.
In her address at last week’s measles campaign advocacy meeting in Lusaka, WHO Representative in Zambia, Dr. Stella Anyangwe, pointed out that measles can be prevented with a simple vaccine which costing less than a dollar per child. “It is therefore unpardonable to allow the disease to continue to kill, to sicken and to disable our children,” she said.
Also speaking at the advocacy meeting, UNICEF Zambia Deputy Representative, Elspeth Erickson, stressed the need to reach out to every child in the targeted age group with the measles vaccine.
“It is a travesty that globally measles is still one of the major causes of childhood illness and a leading cause of child death in many developing countries, despite the fact that a safe vaccine has been available for many decades. We need to ensure that every child in Zambia is vaccinated against measles,” she said.