The disruptions COVID-19 brought in the health sector didn’t spare routine immunisation against under-five diseases affecting children in Malawi and other countries across the globe.
Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that over 37 percent of immunisation campaigns across the globe were disrupted due to the emergence of Coronavirus in 2019.
From 2019 to 2023 its been a good four years of disrupted health services and in catching up, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with its partners including PATH seek to roll out an immunisation campaign targeting 9-month-old children to those aged 14. This has been disclosed at the recent three-day orientation for Health Journalists in Salima.
Speaking during the training of the health scribes, Deputy Director of Preventive Health Services responsible for Health Education Services, Mavuto Thomasi, said the ministry must roll out the immunization campaign so that those children who missed the previous immunisation campaign should be protected from severe effects of Typhoid, Polio, Measles/Rubella.
Health Journalists pose for a photo on the
sidelines of the workshop
“The campaign comes at a time some COVID-19 restrictions have been waived. So we have to make use of the time. The official launch will be on 12 May in Balaka and the campaign targets to vaccinate children against Polio, Typhoid, Measles/Rubella including a dose of Vitamin A for all children aged 9 months to those less than 15 years.
The campaign uses a multi-approach strategy where advocacy and socio-media communication, mobile messaging and press conferences among others have all been lined up,” said Thomasi.
Adding weight to the development, Esau Mkisi, Vaccine Technical Lead from Path said despite those other children already receiving the vaccine but for other reasons, other children could have been missed.
“For under-five children, they need to receive Vitamin A every six months so if they were missed this is the opportunity. Secondly, diseases like Typhoid and Measles lead to fatalities. We need to protect the children. We come in as partners and our role is to support the ministry’s efforts to ensure that the campaign is executed according to plan,” said Mkisi.
The United Nations says on its website that immunisation directly impacts health (SDG3) and is recognized to play a central role in achieving all SDGs, especially in Least Developed Countries where health services were affected by COVID-19 Pandemic.
With Malawi 2063 in mind, the campaign will involve all district hospitals, health centres, outreach clinics, temporal sites, schools, churches, mosques, to ensure that Malawi is leaving no child behind.