Date: Fri 29 Jul 2016
Source: The Voice [edited]
Shortage of measles vaccine hits MoH [Ministry of Health, Botswana]
Hardly a week after the Ministry of Health (MoH) [Botswana] launched the measles/rubella (MR) campaign, shortage of the life saving vaccination has been reported in different parts of the country. In this year's campaign, the MoH introduced measles/rubella (MR) vaccine, targeting children aged 9 months to 14 years of age.
This week some members of teams that have been dispatched at various health posts across the country told of how they spent most of their time idling as they had run out of the vaccine. Some of the affected areas are said to include Tutume District Health Management Team (DHMT), Ngamiland DHMT and Boteti DHMT.
"Honestly I don't know what we are doing here because there are no vaccines. We were dispatched with full knowledge of the anticipated turn out of the children, but the medication did not tally with the numbers of the children. In some instances we are forced to give children either the injection or pills and that doesn't complete the whole vaccination process," said a team member who preferred anonymity. Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus.
In 1980, before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year. The disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
Approximately 114 900 people died from measles in 2014 -- mostly children under the age of 5. According to a savingram that was sent to DHMT heads in all districts from the Ministry of Health, the measles/rubella campaign is scheduled for 25 Jul to 12 Aug 2016.
The communique further indicates that after the campaign, the measles/rubella vaccine will be introduced into the routine immunisation schedule and will be administered to babies aged 9 months and 18 months. "Post measles campaign coverage survey will be conducted within 10 days following the campaign and it is planned for 22 to 26 Aug 2016," read part of the savingram.
The savingram further revealed that the Ministry of Health has successfully conducted measles follow-up campaigns every 3-4 years as per the World Health Organisation recommendation. The last measles campaign was conducted in 2013, hence the next campaign taking place in 2016. Attempts to reach Chief Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Health, Doreen Motshegwa, were unsuccessful as she was said to be attending meetings on Wednesday [27 Jul 2016].
Key facts about measles
Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
- In 2014, there were 114 900 measles deaths globally -- about 314 deaths every day or 13 deaths every hour.
- Measles vaccination resulted in a 79 percent drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2014 worldwide.
- In 2014, about 85 percent of the world's children received 1 dose of measles vaccine by their 1st birthday through routine health services -- up from 73 percent in 2000.
- During 2000-2014, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 17.1 million deaths, making measles vaccine one of the best buys in public health. [Byline: Leonard Matota]
[Measles, mumps, and rubella are serious diseases. Before vaccines they were very common, especially among children. To prevent disease, children should get 2 doses of MMR vaccine: 1st dose at 12-15 months of age, 2nd dose at 4-6 years of age (may be given earlier, if at least 28 days after the 1st dose). A map of Botswana may be accessed at <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/169
>. - ProMed Mod.LK]