Speaking at the launch of the second dose Measles Immunization campaign in Lilongwe, WHO Resident Representative Dr. Eugene Nyarko said Malawi needs to consolidate itself with the financial support it gets from partners to eliminate measles.
The WHO Resident Representative described the measles second dose immunization campaign as a significant milestone in efforts to prevent children from one of the major childhood killer diseases.
Dr. Nyarko observed that that there may be areas where some children may not have been immunized with the first dose and can develop measles hence the need for them to use this campaign to vaccinate children to avoid possible outbreaks.
Nyarko said although Malawi has done well and achieved high coverage in measles immunization, there is need for government to take charge.
“We have very high coverage for all the antigens and in the long term government will have to bear all that responsibility. Government needs to mobilize domestic resources to ensure that vaccines that are needed to sustain this campaign in that way we’ll avoid shortage of vaccines and outbreaks” said Nyarko.
Dr. Nyarko pointed out that immunization is one of the most cost effective public health interventions in the world and its benefits have clearly been demonstrated.
The event also coincided with the commemoration of World Health Day and Minister of Health urged people to live healthy lifestyles to prevent diseases.
Dr. Jean Kalilani appealed to the public to prioritize food safety to avoid disease outbreaks.
Kalilani said previously measles vaccine was only given to infants aged between 9 to twelve months.
“The second measles vaccine will help more children get immunized and prevent a measles outbreak in Malawi” observed Kalilani.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Traditional Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) combined with the integrated management of childhood illnesses has registered a progressive reduction in mortality rates in under five children.