1.5 million kids to be vaccinated against measles  

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By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

The Program Manager on Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), Ministry of Health Dr. Desmond Maada Kangbai has disclosed that about 1.5 million kids between ages 9 months to 59 months are expected to receive free measles-Rubella marklate nationwide. 

The 7 days nationwide campaign will start on the 28th of June and ends on the 4th of July 2024.

Dr. Kangbai made this disclosure during a national stakeholder’s meeting held at the Family Kingdom Resort at Aberdeen in Freetown, on Monday 24th of June 2024. In the conference hall health partners, government officials and other key stakeholders in the country. 

He noted that the measles vaccine is an injected one, hence, the Ministry will be doing a static and outreach teams in hospitals, PHUs, and other outreach teams that will be going into communities. Dr. Kangbai also disclosed that they are working with the social mobilizers to bring their children forward for the vaccine.

Taking about the status of measles in Sierra Leone, Dr. Kangbai revealed that the Ministry has recorded a total number of 302 cases of measles in the country this year, noting that 50% of those cases are from Karene and Falaba.

He noted that since 2021, the country had been having cases of measles. He recounted that in 2022, the Ministry submitted an application to GAVI, their partners, such as WHO and UNICEF the Government of Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Health would like to embark on a nationwide measles campaign to protect the children of Sierra Leone.

He said later on, the above-mentioned application was accepted, adding that the Government of Sierra Leone also gave its financial commitment to the course.

 Dr. Kangbai said that the Ministry is counting on the support of stakeholders in cascading the message to their communities in order to make the campaign a success.

Also speaking at the event, Honorable Songa of the Health Committee in the House of Parliament recounted that before this time, people hardly talk about immunization, but noted that the trajectory has changed due to the deliberate effort of the EPI. He pledged to parliament to continue giving support to the work of the EPI.

Deputy Chairman of the Network Immunization Technical Advocacy Group, Ade Renner for Sierra Leone urged all and sundry to put hands on deck in the vaccination process, noting that children are future leaders. Renner also pledged continued support to the EPI team.

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