Central Region vaccinates against measles-rubella

VaccineThe Central Regional Health Directorate  is expected to  vaccinate  1,013,481 children between the ages of nine months and 14  years against measles-rubella from September  11 to 20.

Dr John Eleeza, Deputy Regional Director of Health Service in-charge of Public Health, made this known when he launched the Regional measles-rubella vaccination campaign in Cape Coast on Wednesday.

He said the campaign was in line  with government’s  efforts  to curb  measles and rubella infection  that leads to the death  of children  in a bid to achieve the Millennium Development  Goal  Four (MDG) which is aimed at  reducing   death of children under  five years.

Dr  Eleeza said the Ghana Health Services had decided to vaccinate due to the high number of Rubella infections  recorded  among pregnant women in the country, adding that laboratory and surveillance  data showed that  20 to 40  per cent of negative measles cases test positive for rubella.

He said although  rubella had milder  prodromal symptoms, when  a pregnant  woman contracts  it, the unborn baby  might  be born with  abnormalities known as congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) which could cause blindness,  deafness, cataracts, heart defects, small heads, mental retardation, bone alterations, liver and spleen damage as well as diabetes and autism.

Dr Eleeza said rubella remained a threat to pregnant women and their foetuses in particular, making Rubella the leading cause of preventable congenital defects among children in the country, adding that 110,000 CRS cases were recorded in 2008.

He said rubella was a viral infectious human disease and was transmitted either through large aerosol droplets from person to person or through placenta congenital rubella syndrome with an incubation period of 14 days.

Dr  Eleeza  said  the vaccine was safe  and effective and that the measles-rubella  vaccine  had been in use for more than 45 years and more than 500 million doses  had been given in more than 100 countries and the government  was working towards achieving measles elimination status.

He said reported measles vaccinations coverage improved from 84 per cent in 2000 to 88-89 per cent in 2012 and that reported cases of measles  dropped from 140,000 in 1980 to about 12,000  in 2002.

Some 101 confirmed cases were recorded in 2009, which reduced to 36 in 2010 and again increased from 109 in 2011 to 330 in 2012.

Dr Eleeza urged parents to ensure that their children in the target age group are vaccinated.

Source: GNA

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