Editor's Comment

Protect Zambia against measles, rubella

IN THE last three weeks, the most prominent public announcement was inviting parents to take their children aged between nine months and 15 years to get vaccinated against measles and rubella at the nearest health centres or designated vaccine points from yesterday up to this Saturday.
Apart from public addresses through vehicle mounted hailers, there have also been advertisements on radio, television and in the print media.
This is how much importance the Ministry of Health and its stakeholders have attached to the exercise.
Vaccination is critical to ensuring that every child receives immunity against some infectious diseases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the measles virus is extremely infectious and can cause severe illness and death while rubella is a contagious viral disease, which occurs most often in children.
The rubella virus is transmitted via the respiratory route, and symptoms usually appear 2–3 weeks after exposure. In children, the disease is usually mild, with low fever, nausea and a transient rash. Adults may develop arthritis and painful joints.
Yet, measles and rubella are preventable.
Therefore, parents and guardians have an opportunity to avail their children and dependants for immunisation so that they become resistant to measles and rubella diseases through the administration of a vaccine by health experts.
In Zambia, fortunately, the Ministry of Health and partners like the Lions Club International have availed the citizens vaccines to stimulate the bodies of our children and dependants’ immune system to protect them against measles and rubella infection.
WHO says immunisation is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year.
WHO says immunisation is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations.
We, therefore, urge parents, guardians, teachers, preachers, minibus and taxi drivers, call boys, bankers, politicians and other well-meaning citizens to join in sensitising neighbours, workmates, church mates and others who may not know either about the on-going vaccination or its benefits.
Zambia should aim at eliminating all diseases which can be prevented through vaccinations.
We should therefore hold hands to ensure that vaccination programmes are a huge success. We should never tire at reminding ourselves that prevention is better than cure.



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