The Federal Ministry of Health (MoH) officially launched a nationwide integrated measles vaccination campaign on 22 December 2022 in an event officiated by honourable State Minister of Health Dr Dereje Duguma in Siriti Health Center at Akaki Kaliti Sub-City in Addis Ababa. The national launching event was conducted in the presence of government officials, donors, immunization partners, religious and community leaders and the media.
Honorable State Minister Dr. Dereje Duguma commended all partners who supported this effort and urged regional health bureaus and health workers to use this opportunity to conduct an effective vaccination campaign with wide coverage and boost the target population’s immunity. He also called upon all parents and caregivers to actively participate during the integrated measles vaccination campaign by presenting their children for vaccination.
The integrated measles supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) are targeting 15.5 million children aged 9-59 months across the nation, including hard-to-reach populations in drought- and conflict-affected areas.
Other lifesaving services are integrated with the nationwide measles vaccination campaign, including catchup routine immunization for zero-dose and under-vaccinated children; nutrition services for children: screening for acute malnutrition, vitamin A drops, and deworming against intestinal parasites; identification of obstetric fistula in women; identification of clubfoot in children; and COVID-19 vaccination.
Speaking on behalf of immunization partners, Dr Paul Mainuka, Acting Head of WHO Ethiopia Immunization, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Cluster said, “I congratulate the Ministry of Health for the initiative taken to reduce the risk of measles outbreaks in the country and bring ongoing outbreaks to an end, thus protecting children from preventable sickness and death caused by measles.” He added, “It is also commendable that the campaign is integrated with other live-saving interventions such as COVID-19 vaccination and nutrition services.”
In Ethiopia, measles remains a major health problem with several outbreaks occurring in different parts of the country. To address this, Ethiopia adopted and started implementing key strategies to reduce the burden of measles and head towards elimination through strengthening routine immunization and SIAs, surveillance, and case management.
Nutrition-related health problems are among the top causes of morbidity and mortality in children in developing countries, including in Ethiopia. Many women in Ethiopia are suffering from obstetric fistula which is a devastating condition with a negative impact on the health, social and economic well-being of affected women and their families; therefore, the identification and referral of those women will provide them with opportunities to receive much-needed treatment. The integration and referral of club foot will also be a good opportunity for those affected children to avoid life-long disability as club foot is correctable if detected and treated early.
The MoH is conducting the integrated measles vaccination campaign in collaboration with the regional health bureaus and immunization partners including WHO, UNICEF, and GAVI.
As part of the preparation for this nationwide integrated campaign, advocacy and community engagement were conducted at different levels to ensure the full engagement of all stakeholders, including the media, government sectors, health and immunization partners, and the community.
WHO supported this campaign financially and technically and has deployed more than 100 experts to support the campaign implementation in pre-, intra- and post-campaign activities, including monitoring quality of services provision during the campaign.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Ethiopia.