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Measles-rubella vaccine starts Monday

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Malawi Red Cross and American Red Cross have embarked on a measles-rubella (MR) vaccine campaign to let Malawians know that the vaccine is available for use.

A total of 2,600 volunteers have been recruited and trained to conduct a door-to-door sensitisation campaign on the vaccine.

The organisations are assisting the Ministry of Health in ensuring that parents take their children for vaccinations that start today and end on June 16 2017.

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Though measles can kill and rubella causes crippling birth defects, the diseases can be prevented by using the MR vaccine.

Malawi Red Cross Campaign Programme Manager Taonga Nyekanyeka said the Ministry of Health has introduced the new MR vaccine for children.

“The MR vaccine will be introduced to the routine immunisation campaign for children. Measles is very common in children below the age of five, so it is very important to have the children vaccinated,” Nyekanyeka said.

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Rubella is not common in Malawi but the World Health Organisation has deemed it fit to combine the two vaccines.

Measles and Rubella adviser from the American Red Cross Amine Ismail said rubella is a global problem and the disease can easily be mistaken for measles.

“Rubella is a huge issue globally and is often mistaken for measles. It is a big problem for women during early pregnancy and that is why this vaccine is very important.” Ismail said

The American Embassy has pumped $250,000 into the campaign that is targeting Blantyre, Zomba, Mangochi, Lilongwe, Mzimba and Mzuzu City.

Children aged nine months to 14 years will be vaccinated.

The ministry aims to vaccinate over seven million children by the end of the campaign.

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