The Ministry of Health has vaccinated over 12,000 children against measles in Bigogwe Sector, Nyabihu District.
This was during a three-day vaccination exercise that began Tuesday through Thursday this week.
The immunisation exercise, that targeted children as young as 6 months to 15 years, also included a mass sensitisation campaign carried out by Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) staff in collaboration with community health workers and local leaders in the district.
During the sensitisation, officials urged the local population to participate in the fight against measles through avoiding close personal contact practices like hugging, among others, with an infected person since the measles virus, which lives in the nose and throat, is highly contagious.
Signs and symptoms of measles include; cough, fever, red eyes, running nose, sore throat, white spots inside the mouth, light sensitivity and achy muscle joints.
Residents were urged to go to nearby health facilities in case of any of the above symptoms.
Malick Kayumba, the head of the Health Communication Division at RBC, said the immunisation exercise was one of the activities the ministry is undertaking to increase awareness about good hygiene practices.
“It was one of the ways to increase awareness and improve hygiene in communities. The rainy season is a time when we focus on hygiene. We have a series of activities; in this month we are celebrating the global Toilet Day and Hand Washing Day as part of our hygiene campaigns,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 20 million people are affected by measles each year and the overwhelming majority (more than 95 per cent) of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures.
Vaccine has been proven effective in preventing the disease. Vaccination resulted in a 75 per cent decrease in deaths that resulted from measles between 2000 and 2013 with about 85 per cent of children globally being currently vaccinated.