BUGESERA - As a strategy of cutting down mortality rates, the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, yesterday called upon the population to respond to government interventions that aim at boosting maternal and child health.
Mrs. Kagame said this during the official launch of a three-day special immunization campaign against polio and measles in Bugesera district,Eastern Province.
While addressing a multitude of locals, Mrs. Kagame highlighted measles as one of the leading child killer diseases saying that although the vaccine has been availed within the national immunization programme, some children still do not have access.
“Five percent of our children still do not get immunized against such diseases, which leads to increased child deaths. It is therefore imperative that every parent takes some time off work and save their children’s lives by ensuring that they get immunized,” she said.
During the course of the campaign, over one million children under 5 years are expected to be immunized and acquire Vitamin A vaccine while close to three million children between 5 and 16 years will be dewormed at schools.
To officially flag off the nationwide operation, Mrs Kagame admistered the Vitamin A vaccine to eight month-old Musoni Uwera at a colourful function which took place in Gashora.
“We decided to launch this special programme here based on the 2008 statistics which revealed that health progress in this province is still slow hence the need to implement such unique strategies that will eliminate these diseases completely,” the First Lady said.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera also immunized an infant against measles after which he advised residents to exploit available opportunities that seek to achieve national health priorities.
“Issues like polio had been eliminated in the region for years but we have cases of polio coming back especially in Kenya, North Eastern Uganda and now Burundi. We therefore want to also reach children at the border during this campaign.”
Sezibera added that during this time, about 300,000 pregnant women will also receive iron and folic acid supplements in a bid to prevent anemia while 50,000 breastfeeding mothers will acquire water treatment solutions known as Sur Eau to guarantee safe water usage.
The Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy, Anne Casper, World Health Organization Country Representative, Jack Abdoulie and delegates from various health partners such as the Access Project, USAID, UNICEF and TDA also attended.