2019 Meningitis vaccination campaign underway

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Health ministry’s 2019 nationwide Meningitis A vaccination with Vitamin A supplementation and deworming campaign has commenced on Saturday. The vaccination and deworming campaign is meant to protect children against Meningitis, Vitamin A deficiency and worm infestation.

The campaign team is led by Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO) with support from The Vaccine Alliance (GAVI). It will end of February 8th.

Vaccination teams will visit communities and will be stationed at strategic locations such as Bantabas, markets places, health centers, crossing points, community centers and schools to ensure that no child from age 1 to 7, is missed.

Saharu Kanteh, communication officer of the Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI) said the vaccination process targets children from age 1 to 7, saying the vitamin A vaccine targets 6 to 59-month infants and deworming tablets targets 12 to 59-month infants.

He said meningitis outbreaks occurred between November 2000 and March 2001, and between 1996 and 1997. “Meningitis outbreaks have been occurring and have killed people in The Gambia. The most recent outbreak occurred in 2012, infecting 175 people, leading to 9 deaths.”

According to him, The Gambia conducted mass meningitis immunisation campaign in 2013, targeting people aged 11 to 29 years. “This new campaign targets children aged 1 to 7 years because they did not receive the vaccine during the 2013 campaign.”

Mr. Kanteh called on political, traditional and religious leaders, community-based organisations and community volunteers, parents and caregivers to play lead role in ensuring the success of the campaign. “All stakeholders should ensure that no child in their constituencies is left behind.

Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF resident representative said importance of the campaign cannot be overemphasized because it will prevent children from infectious diseases. “It is a free medical service and parents need to take the opportunity to ensure that their children are vaccinated or receive vitamin A.”

She commended the Ministry of Health and the communities for their full participation during the vaccination process.  

Author: Fatou B Cham