Government on Thursday launched the 2023 Supplementary Immunization Campaign, describing it as the most cost effective and sure way of preventing vaccine preventable diseases in children.
Secretary for Health, Dr Samson Mndolo, was speaking during the official launch of the 2023 Supplementary Immunization Campaign held at Mtaya School Ground in Balaka.
The campaign which targets under-five children will run for seven days from 15th to 21st May, 2023 with vaccines delivered in all health facilities across the country.
Mndolo said the government through the Ministry of Health is committed to ensuring that infants, toddlers, and of course children in general are protected from life threatening and disability causing illnesses.
“It is important that we work together to address these gaps and avoid catastrophic diseases. We must safeguard our health no matter the circumstances,” he said
He added that children are supposed to be vaccinated against different diseases and not just once but even several times in their lifetime.
Diseases like measles, polio, typhoid, and diseases caused by Vitamin A deficiency are among diseases that are disabling and life-threatening, adding that Imagine a situation where we are not doing anything to prevent these diseases – the end result would be health facilities full of patients, he observed.
However, measles-rubella and polio vaccinations are targeting children who are nine months up to 59 months while the Typhoid Conjugate vaccines are targeting children 9 months to 14 years of age.
World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Neema Kimambo, assured communities that immunization remains safe and has proven to reduce illnesses, disability, and death.
“Let us all support efforts to reach every child and community with vaccines to ensure a healthier population for Malawi,” she said.
According to her, the disease accounts for between 128 000 and 161 000 deaths annually across the globe and disproportionately affects Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Malawi reported about 32, 747 cases and 435 deaths. Of these cases, 61% of cases and 65% of deaths from typhoid occur in children less than 15 years of age.
Also, she said, the country reports about 120 cases of intestinal perforations from typhoid.
Kimambo, therefore, reiterated her organization’s continued support to the Ministry of Health to make sure that the routinization is smooth.