Lebanon started a national measles and rubella vaccination campaign today targeting more than 900,000 schoolchildren, as part of its commitments under a United Nations strategy to eliminate the diseases by the end of 2010.
Under the strategy developed by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the campaign was initiated by the country’s Ministry of Public Health because of the persistent yearly recurrence of measles in the country, UNICEF said in a press release.
The Ministry of Education, as well as various civil society organizations, will help to carry out the campaign, with the first phase running from today until 12 April targeting children in educational institutions and nurseries.
“A healthy mind means a sound body, and the Lebanese child is our first concern; without him we cannot build a sound and healthy society,” said Minister of Education Khalid Qabbani, at a press conference for the launch held last Thursday.
The second phase, from 29 April to 3 May, will focus on children missed during the first round between the ages of nine months and 14 years.
Vaccinations will be carried out by 350 teams in over 3,000 private and public schools, with each team comprising at least one medical doctor or one registered nurse.
In the run-up to the campaign, UNICEF undertook a comprehensive media awareness programme among the population highlighting the importance of vaccinations, the agency said.