Nationwide drive against measles in Sept, Dec

Kathmandu, August 26:

With a view to eliminating measles from the country by 2010, Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) is going to carry out a National Measles Immunisation Campaign in

September and December.

The campaign would be conducted in two phases. The first phase starting September 10 would be conducted in 29 districts of mid-west, far-west and Mustang, Manang, Solukhumbu and Taplejung; the second phase would begin from December 6 in 46 districts of eastern, central and western development regions.

The campaign is a follow-up to national measles catch-up campaign conducted during 2004 to 2005 when 9.4 million children aged between nine months and 15 years were vaccinated.

This time the ministry has aimed to incorporate 3.9 million children aged between nine months and five years, who were missed during the past campaign.

Organising a programme today, Dr Yasho Vardhan Pradhan, director, Child Health Division of the ministry, said trained vaccinators would conduct the immunisation campaign at thousands of booths. The campaign will see mobilisation of 10,156 vaccinators, 74,084 volunteers and 5,949 supervisors. Along with measles vaccine, polio vaccine would also be administered, Pradhan added.

He said the campaign is expected to significantly reduce cases of measles related deaths and eliminate the disease by 2010.

According to the MoHP, around 5,000 children died of measles in 2003.

“After the first campaign the death rate fell drastically during the last two years, but the disease still persists,” said Dr Dirgha Singh Bam, officiating secretary at the MoHP.

He said Nepal has achieved much in reducing infant mortality rate to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but eradication of the measles would be a milestone on meeting the MDGs.

The World Health Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have supported the MoHP for the campaign and the campaign is estimated to cost Rs 3.7 million.