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Malawi Red Cross Society promotes children immunisation

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Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) in conjunction with Ministry of Health has embarked on a campaign to mobilise communities to ensure that children are immunised against measles.

MRCS Lilongwe Branch Youth Development and Resources Mobilisation Manager, Leonard Maganga, said this on Monday at Kaliyeka Primary School in Lilongwe when he visited the centre to appreciate the ongoing campaign.

Maganga explained that as partners in the campaign, there is a need to work hand in hand with government and other partners in the elimination of measles and rubella in the country.

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“As MRCS, our role this year is social mobilisation and we are actually doing door-to-door sensitisation to the general community on the importance of having the children aged from nine months to 14 years to be immunised,’’ Maganga said.

He further said that signs and symptoms of measles and rubella diseases can be confusing, hence the Ministry of Health’s decision to change the vaccine and include rubella vaccine.

“It was noted that people were still getting the infection that has been persistent when kids were already vaccinated for measles, hence adding the rubella vaccine,’’ he said.

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He further said that the efforts aim to ensure that no child remains unvaccinated as has been the case in previous efforts.

“We identified six districts and areas that have seen low coverage in terms of the previous campaigns, namely Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Mzimba, Mangochi, Zomba and Blantyre,’’ Maganga said.

He added that this year they are aiming to have 95 percent coverage of vaccination and that it has deployed 2,650 volunteers in the selected districts and 1,100 volunteers for Lilongwe alone.

Speaking in an interview, Head teacher for Kaliyeka Primary School, Orleen Kumwenda, expressed satisfaction on the immunisation process.

Kumwenda explained that the turnout has been so impressive pointing out that so many children came to get the vaccine.

She therefore thanked MRSC for the job well done in the area to sensitise the community to take part in the exercise.

Angella Dickson of Kaliyeka 1 appealed to parents and guardians to take advantage of the opportunity to ensure that their children are vaccinated.

“I got the message through the radio and when Red Cross volunteers came to my house on the immunisation process, I did not hesitate but to come with my children and grab the opportunity,’’ Dickson said.

She thanked the government for providing them with health workers to make sure that every child would have access to immunisation.

The vaccination campaign is being conducted nationwide from Monday to Friday this week and is being supported by the World Health Organisation, Unicef and the American Red Cross among others.

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