Vac­ci­na­tions crit­i­cal to chil­dren's well­be­ing

Public Sector Manager - - In Other News -

Health Min­is­ter Aaron Mot­soaledi has warned that his depart­ment may not achieve its set tar­gets if an­ti­vac­cine lobby groups con­tinue to mis­lead par­ents about the ef­fi­cacy of im­mu­ni­sa­tion.

This fol­lows protests by some com­mu­ni­ties, who have re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced a measles out­break.

Min­is­ter Mot­soaledi said this year the depart­ment aimed to reach more than five mil­lion chil­dren from the age of six months to five years through its measles vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign and rou­tine ser­vices.

How­ever, they only man­aged to achieve 80 per­cent of the tar­get due to a num­ber of fac­tors in­clud­ing an­ti­vac­cine lobby groups and non-co­op­er­a­tive par­ents who refuse to sign con­sent forms to per­mit health­care work­ers to vac­ci­nate their chil­dren.

The Min­is­ter said the depart­ment con­tin­ues to en­gage with var­i­ous com­mu­nity lead­ers in the af­fected ar­eas to con­vince par­ents and care­givers to co­op­er­ate with health­care work­ers to have their chil­dren vac­ci­nated.

“Vac­cine re­fusal en­dan­gers ev­ery­one, not just the un­vac­ci­nated chil­dren.Thus, you must pri­ori­tise the health and well­be­ing of your kids by tak­ing them to the near­est clinic or health­care provider to en­sure that they are up-to-date with vac­ci­na­tion,” Min­is­ter Mot­soaledi said.

Measles is a highly in­fec­tious ill­ness with the po­ten­tial for se­ri­ous and life threat­en­ing com­pli­ca­tions. In­di­vid­u­als who have never had measles and those who are un­vac­ci­nated or are in­com­pletely vac­ci­nated may be at risk of measles when visit­ing ar­eas with measles cases.

Im­mu­ni­sa­tion, which is part of the coun­try's pro­grammes to achieve the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment

Goals (SDGs) on good health and well­be­ing, re­mains one of the most suc­cess­ful and cost-ef­fec­tive pub­lic health in­ter­ven­tions, and is widely recog­nised as crit­i­cal to achiev­ing the SDGs.

Glob­ally, im­mu­ni­sa­tion pre­vents an es­ti­mated 2.5 mil­lion child deaths ev­ery year in all age groups from diph­the­ria, tetanus, per­tus­sis (whoop­ing cough) and measles.

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